Cycling-Mathieu plots comeback


MATHIEU … plotting his comebackMathieu has been seen training and he confirmed that he had just finished a session before noon yesterday when Sports Nation contacted him. 

The 27-year-old is coming out of self-imposed retirement to try to win a third Indian Ocean Islands Games (IOIG) individual time gold medal.

Two-time individual time-trial gold medallist at the IOIG – in Mauritius in 2003 and in Madagascar in 2007 – Mathieu has not competed in any races here since late 2007.

Before leaving for a one-and-a-half months’ coaching clinic and training at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, in May last year, he told Sports Nation he had not taken part in local races because of the “poor state of the Seychelles Cycling Association”.

“There are problems within the association, and I have been paying the price,” he was quoted as saying last year.

“I remember they did not want to choose me as the best rider in 2006 until the National Sports Council interfered. Last year (2007), the association tried different tactics to stop me from following a training camp in Switzerland ahead of the IOIG.

“They say that I am undisciplined. This is because they want me to change my training programme but I don’t want to.”
He said many people have asked him to get back on his bike and he has heeded their advice.
“I’m training hard and I’m serious as usual,” added Mathieu.

“People will see the difference in the level of cycling when I resume competing,” continued the individual time-trial specialist, who has won a record 10 National Championship titles in 11 years – in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Probably the country’s best-ever rider, Mathieu, who trained for two years at the World Cycling Centre from 2002 to 2004, is expected to join forces with Brian Sinon, Nelson Rose, Andrew Payet and Roy Mougal to form a team to compete in local competitions.

He did not want to give more detail about his return but added: “I don’t want to put pressure on myself or set any deadline. I’ll keep it as a surprise.”

G. G.

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