Riders re­warded for star per­for­mance

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Moorosi Tsiane

LE­SOTHO’S top cy­clists, Phetetso Monese and Te­boho Khan­tši, are set to join Chris­tian Sch­midt and Darol Howel of Sky Events in next month’s Wines2wales Race.

The three-day event starts on 7 Novem­ber and takes place in Cape Town, South Africa.

Sky Events founder, Chris­tian Sch­midt, told a media con­fer­ence held on Tues­day in Maseru that the duo were be­ing re­warded for their good per­for­mance in the re­cent Le­sotho Sky race, which at­tracted 81 riders.

Khan­tši and John Ntuli of South Africa ended the six-day event in fifth po­si­tion, while Monese and Sipho Madolo also of South Africa, were sixth. The race took place from 20-25 Septem­ber in the dis­tricts of Maseru and Mafeteng.

“This year’s race was su­perb,” Schimdt said. “It was, by far, the big­gest and best in terms of first-time pro­fes­sional riders.

“The win­ners were also debu­tants and fin­ished the race more than an hour ahead of their run­ners-up.”

Sch­midt also paid trib­ute to lo­cal riders who “proved their worth” among the big field of pro­fes­sion­als from South Africa.

“The four top teams ride for a liv­ing and I think it was re­mark­able for our guys to have shown so much char­ac­ter. We will be tak­ing two mem­bers of the Academy of Cy­cling Ex­cel­lence (ACE) Moun­tain Bike team with us to the Wines2wales race in South Africa in Novem­ber, as a re­sult of their ex­cel­lent per­for­mance.”

Ac­cord­ing to Sch­midt, nine of the 81 riders who took part in last week­end’s race were ladies, which he said proved the event was grow­ing. Two of the ladies, he noted, were pro­fes­sion­als. How­ever, all the fe­male riders were from South Africa.

On his part, ACE team man­ager, Mark West, said: “Peo­ple might look at the per­for­mance of our riders in last year’s edi­tion of the race where they came out sec­ond and think they didn’t do well this time around, when that is not the case. As men­tioned ear­lier, the four teams at the top were pros, but I am happy with the stan­dard of our riders; they keep on im­prov­ing with each race.

“There is also depth in tal­ent among the riders, so I am proud of how these guys per­formed. I think the two part­ners of Monese and Khan­tši helped get the best out of them although Madolo was strug­gling a bit.”

In his re­marks, Le­sotho Cy­cling As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent, Se­haule Mpopo, said the race was good prepa­ra­tion for next year’s African Cy­cling Cham­pi­onship to be held in Morocco.

“These boys must take it from here and go top of their pro­fes­sion be­cause I be­lieve they had the much-needed chal­lenge as prepa­ra­tion for the up­com­ing African Cham­pi­onship,” Mpopo said.

“I would also like to thank all the race’s spon­sors be­cause we couldn’t have made it with­out their sup­port.”

Liepollo Tsekoa from Al­liance In­sur­ance Com­pany also spoke highly of the race and lo­cal riders at the press brief­ing.

“As spon­sors, we are pleased to see the race grow­ing year by year, while lo­cal riders have con­tin­ued to make us proud,” Tsekoa said.

Palesa Ntl­hakane of Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank shared the same sen­ti­ments and fur­ther pledged to spon­sor the race for the next three years.

“We are proud of the Sky Events team for this race and will spon­sor this race for another three years,” she said.

Mean­while, South Africans Max Knox and Rourke Croeser, who ride for Bio­gen, were the win­ners of the race, with the Scott Fac­tory Rac­ing team of Matthys Beukes and Phillip Buys com­ing sec­ond. James Reid and Jens Schuer­mans of RECM Ver­sluys scooped third prize, while Guy Niv and Shlomi Haimy of Team Is­rael were fourth. Khan­tši and Ntuli of the Stan­dard Le­sotho Bank team were fifth, with Monese and Madolo of the Al­liance team com­ing sixth.

Sev­enth po­si­tion went to Male­fet­sane Le­sofe and Tumelo Makae of Vo­da­com Le­sotho and To­tal riders Lech­esa Tohlang and Paseka Makhebe­sela ended the race in eighth spot.

Sky Events handed awards to out­stand­ing riders at the week­end.

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