McLean's the man in Mauritius | SASCOC - SASCOC

McLean’s the man in Mauritius

Former professional road cyclist, Andrew McLean, showed that experience counts just as much as ability when he won the Tour of Mauritius this week. The 45-year-old McLean, racing for the Toyota Cycle Lab team, beat many riders half his age in the six-stage event, which attracted an international field.

After finishing second in the opening stage, a 15-kilometre individual time trial, McLean maintained his second place on Stage Two, a 90km road race. But it was on Stage Three, a 120km road race, where McLean managed to win the stage and secure the overall race lead, which he maintained until the finish.

ÔÇ£It was actually a lot harder keeping the Yellow Jersey than earning it,ÔÇØ said McLean.┬á ÔÇ£I had to rely on all my years of experience to hold off some very strong attempts from the other teams to grab the lead from me.ÔÇØ

McLean played down his advanced age as being significant, saying that in cycling, age isn’t as big a factor as in other sports.

ÔÇ£Because the bicycle bears your bodyweight, you have a much longer competitive ‘lifespan’ than say in running, which is very high impact and wears your body down over the years,ÔÇØ said McLean.

ÔÇ£Look at Frenchwoman, Jeannie Longo, she’s in her 50s and still winning major titles. It’s a matter of having the motivation to continue training and racing that becomes a factor. Even though I work full time and don’t train as much as I used to as a professional, I still take my training seriously, but I use what training time I have to maximum effect. Knowing how to do that is definitely as a result of years of experience.ÔÇØ

McLean started racing bicycles competitively at the age of 21 and during the 1990s, was South Africa’s top stage racer. Among his stage racing highlights were four victories at the Giro del Capo, South Africa’s premier stage race at the time.

McLean was quick to point out that it was only with the support of his team that he was able to secure the Tour of Mauritius title.

ÔÇ£We only finished with three riders, after starting with five. My teammates turned themselves inside out to help me defend the Yellow Jersey. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have won the tour. Road cycling rewards an individual winner, but it’s as much a team sport in most ways as what rugby is.┬á My teammates were totally committed and unselfish and really did sterling work. I can’t thank them enough.ÔÇØ