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Image credit: Dave Macleod

“The major pull for riders has got to be the fact that they can qualify for a world cycling final,” said Mclean. “Even if they aren’t going to compete in the final just knowing that you were able to qualify is an achievement in itself,” he mentioned.

The decision to take part in the race came when Mclean realised that the trip would be beneficial for him in two ways. “I decided that I am going to race in the Msunduzi Road Challenge this year,” the UWCT silver medallist said. “Well, I am really hoping to qualify for the Finals next year which is the one reason but it also gives me a chance to come down and visit my son at Hilton College.”

The race has been given a new route and will bypass Wartburg in order to keep the race away from traffic. The course this year is being used on a lap basis and Mclean believes that this will be beneficial from a spectator point of view as well as keeping the course constant.

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“The course -- from what I can remember -- is a fair course. It isn’t too hilly or too flat which means that there is something for all the riders.

“Lap racing also works out perfectly for the riders and all the riders will be out there in Wartburg from the start. Having the race outside of Pietermaritzburg will also lessen the effects of traffic on the roads. The idea to use the lap format is a lot better from a spectators point of view because they have the chance of seeing riders on a couple of occasions,” added Mclean.

It has been a busy year for Mclean after he claimed a bronze medal at the UCI MTB Masters World Championships in his age category and he has been away from riding for a while but is confident that he will be ready to go when the race comes around.

“It has been quite a year for me with the World Champs and everything so I decided to take a little bit of time off from riding and will start getting myself together before the race next month,” he mentioned.

The competitive streak runs strongly through Mclean and after claiming a silver medal in the 2012 UWCT final Time Trial as well as in the road race, he is planning to get himself in a position where he can qualify to go one better at the 2014 final.

He lost out by two seconds in the Time Trial at the UWCT final in Pietermaritzburg last year to American, Cale Reeder and in the road race he was beaten in a sprint for the finish line by Italian rider, Gregoire Balland.

“Whenever I get on a bike I want to do well and this race is no different for me. I have entered to do both the time trial and the road race, and want to qualify for both again,” Mclean said.