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Track

UCI World Cycling Centre: Mongolian trainee becomes Junior UCI World Champion

UCI Junior World Champion and UCI World Cycling Centre trainee Tegshbayar Batsaikhan of Mongolia
UCI Junior World Champion and UCI World Cycling Centre trainee Tegshbayar Batsaikhan of Mongolia

Never before had Mongolia entered an athlete in the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships.

So with his participation at this year’s edition at the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Aigle, Switzerland, Tegshbayar Batsaikhan was already making history. Then, on Thursday evening, he surprised more than a few athletes and spectators by racing to victory in the Scratch Race and claiming the rainbow jersey.

It is a fantastic result for this 18-year-old athlete who prepared for the Worlds at the UCI WCC. The Centre’s coaches detected the young Mongolian’s talent when he attended a short training camp at the WCC satellite centre in Korea in 2015. After studying the data from his performances on the Wattbike (stationary training bike) the coaches contacted the Mongolian Cycling Federation at the beginning of 2016 and invited him to join the trainees based in Aigle.

“Mongolia has no history of track riding, and Tegshy was a complete novice to the discipline,” explains the UCI WCC High Performance Manager Belinda Tarling. “In the five months since he arrived in Switzerland, our track coach has worked on both the technical and physical aspects of his training. He is a quick and motivated learner who showed he has the talent to compete with, and beat, the best riders of his age in the world.”

She added that there was still a lot of work to do on race tactics and physical development but that he had a very promising future ahead of him.

UCI WCC Director Frédéric Magné added that this success story was testament to the centre’s talent identification and training programmes.

“We work closely with out satellite centres in Asia and Africa, and by studying the Wattbike data sent to us we can keep a close eye on the athletes’ progress and invite the most promising to Aigle for more intensive, high-level training.

“It is so rewarding to see our athletes improve and realise their dreams.”

Batsaikhan’s progress since arriving at the UCI WCC has been impressive. Even so, probably few of the athletes or spectators in the velodrome on Thursday evening would have suspected such a performance from this Mongolian lining up against 20 talented athletes from some of cycling’s leading nations.

Indeed, he was lucky to qualify for the final, finishing his semi-final in sixth position. But in the race that counted he had what it took and raced into the lead with eight laps to go.

In his still hesitant English, Tegshbayar Batsaikhan could not contain his joy: “I am so happy. I dreamed of the rainbow jersey and now I am wearing one. This is a new story for Mongolia.”

The UCI WCC is working closely with the Mongolian Cycling Federation to develop all aspects of cycling and coach education. A one-week coaching course has just been completed in the capital of Ulan Bator.

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