Miller finishes gruelling race

Namibian mountain biker Alex Miller finished the men’s cross-country event in 31st spot at the Tokyo Olympic Games yesterday.

27 July 2021 | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMI

WINDHOEK

Local mountain-bike champion Alex Miller finished the seven-lap race in a time of 1:34:26, 9 minutes and 12 seconds, behind Great Britain's Tom Pidcock who won his first MTB Olympic title in a time of 1:25:15.

Thirty-eight riders in total, a much smaller field than in UCI World Cups, took to the mass start in dry, hot conditions. Only two nations had three riders: Switzerland and Italy, but the field was packed with contenders from around the world and from different riding backgrounds.

Pidcock, who started near the rear, gained 26 positions on the first lap, quickly moved to the front and never let go of his lead as he finished 20 seconds ahead of Switzerland's world number one Mathias Flueckiger (1:25:34) to clinch gold. The bronze medal was bagged by David Valero of Spain in a time of 1:25:38.

The 2016 Olympic Champion, Nino Schurter, battled to fourth in his fourth Olympic Games, the first time he didn’t quite make the podium.

Before the race, the 20-year-old Miller said the journey would not have been possible without his family.

“Thank you, mom, dad, Hans and everyone else in my corner,” Miller said.

The mountain-bike cross-country race features a mass start and multiple laps, with the first rider to complete the required laps winning gold. However, riders whose time is 80% slower than that of the race leader’s first lap are eliminated.

The mountain-bike cross-country action continues with the women’s race tomorrow. Namibia will be represented by Michelle Vorster in that event.

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