The Pyga Euro Steel rider said he was very excited about being selected as part of the South African squad, which also includes Gert Heyns, Philip Buys, Matthys Beukes, Matthew Beers, Nico Bell, Hendrik Kruger, Alan Hatherly and Stuart Marais.
“I didn’t expect it at all as I wasn’t actually focusing on it. I thought I’d just have to keep my rhythm going and hold on to it until next year.
“Luckily I managed to receive the opportunity now and to go to the world champs is massive, especially to be able to test myself among the best of the best in the world.”
Sebona felt he was only able to do that at the Cape Epic, where he claimed the Exxaro jersey and finished 42nd overall alongside William Mokgopo last year.
“Now is the second time I’m able to do that and it will be very interesting. It’s good for me to change my level of training and put a bit more hours into it and have a better focus for next year.”
His expectation for the world champs was to gain as much experience as he could. This he would use in local races as it would give him better motivation to rate himself among the top riders.
“If you train with the best, that’s where you learn how to be able to keep up with them. That’s my intention at the moment.”
He added that he had not done a significant amount of research on the 102km marathon course, but he knew it would be taxing with its 4 200m of ascent.
“I know the terrain will be different as Africa is more rocky than Europe. The climbing will be a bit more suitable for me and not as loose as here.
“I believe it still suits me much better. It’s steeper but my ability, weight and type of training enables me to go to the next level.”
He felt it was his favourite kind of racing, especially being on the ultra-marathon side.
“My strategy will be easy and straightforward, which is to do my best and try to stick with the top guys and see how far I can get.
“I don’t just want to be a number, I want to go to be able to participate and compete. Results are something I’m looking at.”
Sebona, who recently finished eighth in his first cross-country race at the SA MTB XCO Championships in Bloemfontein, said the result was something he still felt surprised about.
“I’m shocked that I managed to get into that spot as we had all the best riders in the field. Even though I couldn’t stick with them, the only differences between us were the turning, cornering and descending.
“I feel more confident after the race and it helped me to see that I’m able to do what is needed.”
He said his biggest goal was to represent his country and he had never received an opportunity like this before.
“I’ve been structuring all my training towards it and I’m looking forward to doing the best I can.”