PHETETSO Monese was on Saturday crowned the 2019 Ficksburg Cherry Festival Mountain Bike Challenge champion in Free State.
The veteran rider clocked 2:40 to win this 60-kilometre race. South African Daniel Kotze finished second while Monese’ teammates Eric Ramohanoe and Katleho Manasi came third and fourth respectively.
Monese told the Lesotho Times that he was happy to win the race after trying unsuccessfully for many years attributing his win to intensive training.
“I started competing in this race many years ago but this is my first time winning it,” Monese said.
“I have however, come second multiple times so I am happy to have done better this time around. My intense training helped me a lot although it was tough.
“Ramohanoe and Kotze were right behind me throughout the race and they too had the potential of clinching it.”
Despite his win, Monese says the race would be his last this year.
“From here I want to rest because I want to work harder next year.”
In September this year, Monese teamed up with Pieter Korkie from South Africa and won the six-day Lesotho Sky stage race in Roma. The win came after nine unsuccessful attempts.
“It has been a good year for me. I am now focusing on qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” Monese said.
Monese also heaped praises on teammates; Manasi and Ramohanoe for their passion and hard work.
Monese, Ramohanoe and Manasi are members of The Sufferfest African Dream Team managed by Mark West.
West said he was happy with his riders’ performance despite having been inactive for several months.
“Most riders use the race as a preparation for next season but they enjoyed because they have not been racing for some time,” West said.