Road cycling returns

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Leemisa Thuseho

THE Federation of Cycling Lesotho (FCL) has resolved to resume the national road championships after a five-year break.

The association last held the national road championships in 2016 but it says it will host another edition next month.

Events coordinator, Sehaole Mpopo, who is also the former president of the organisation, said they were planning to host the Criterium National Championship on 4 April 2021 and the Road Race National Championship on 11 April 2021 at yet to be announced venues.

Mpopo said the federation decided to resume the road championships after realising that there are clubs and coaches who are ready for competitions.

“It has been five years now without road events like the national championships but since last year, we realised that there were coaches and clubs who have been focusing on training riders for road events,” Mpopo said.

“Therefore, we decided to organise championships for them.”

Asked why road cycling was abandoned five years ago, Mpopo said there was an apathy by riders and coaches leading to the break.

“Riders and coaches lost interest in road cycling preferring mountain biking; it was not easy to have road events.

“Cyclists developed an apathy towards the sport because of the dangers they are exposed to by drivers. However, we are now planning to use roads with less traffic.”

He said the race is not yet recognised by Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) as they have not yet applied for it. He said they are using the upcoming race to determine whether or not Lesotho is ready to return to road competitions.

“We have not registered the race with the UCI. The applications for national champions were closed in January and we can only apply for rated events after April and that will be for next year’s events,” he said.

He also said the race will be without a sponsor therefore there will not be any monetary prizes.

Since there were no road cycling activities in the past five years, Lesotho sent cyclist, Teboho Khantši to the 2019 Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco but his performance was under par. Mpopo said the poor performance was a sign that they must invest more in the sport.

 

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