Namibian cyclist Vera Looser (née Adrian) has blamed a surge of unbearable heat and a tricky racing course as some of the factors that derailed her performance in the women’s road race at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics last Sunday.
Looser, who also represented Namibia at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil, yesterday took to her social media platforms to reflect on her overall performance in Tokyo, and described the race as difficult and one conducted under grim circumstances.
The 27-year-old rider said a spurt of excruciating heat and a gruelling racing course deducted from the strong start she made at the beginning of the race, where she broke away from the peloton around the Fuji International Speedway but as the race wore on, she eventually started slowing down and fell back from the leading pack – eventually failing to finish the race with some kilometres still left.
She was swept off the course by the broom wagon – the vehicle that follows a cycling road race and picks up stragglers who are unable to make it to the finish within the time permitted.
“I’m back in Switzerland already and I finally got some time to reflect on my race. I made it into the early breakaway, which ended up being the winning break. It was very hard in the breakaway and I struggled with the heat. When I dropped back from the breakaway, I couldn’t recover because I was completely overheated,” said Looser, who professionally cycles for Canada’s InstaFund Racing Team.
“Also, the cold water didn’t help much. I had a lonely ride up the climb and when I got caught by the bunch, I was out at the back very soon again and my race ended shortly after that. When I was about two minutes behind the bunch, I was pulled off by the commissar. Obviously not finishing the race is never nice, but I knew finishing this race on a course that does not suit me and in those hot conditions was almost impossible for me. I made the best out of it and I do not regret a second of it. Thank you to everyone who watched and supported me.”
Fellow cyclist Tristan de Lange also suffered the same fate a day earlier in the men’s road race when he equally failed to finish his race. Just like Looser, De Lange had an impressive first half of the race, managing to work himself up into the front pack.
He, however, started falling behind the leading pack and never managed to recover with about 122km to the finish line. The broom wagon squad also had come to his rescue. - email@example.com