Stage set for Lesotho Sky

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Moorosi Tsiane

SEVENTY riders will take part in the ninth edition of the annual 328-kilometre, six-day Lesotho Sky race beginning Monday in Roma.

The race starts with an 85km loop in Roma on Monday before the cyclists embark onto the 85km journey from Roma to Malealea.

The third and fourth days will be for the 36.2km and the 54.35km Malealea loops. They cycle back to Roma on the fifth day before finishing up with a 15.5km cross country lap on Saturday.

Riders from 11 countries across the world will contest for the top spot in pairs.

Co-founder of the race Christian Schmidt this week told the Lesotho Times that they are expecting riders from Kenya, Uganda, United States, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, South Africa and Lesotho.

“All is set for the race and what is left is for the riders to come and enjoy the terrain while at the same time competing for the pole position,” Schmidt said.

“We are expecting at least 70 riders coming 11 countries worldwide.”

Schmidt said since this year’s race does not fall under the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) races, they are not expecting many professional racers as, who often participate to gain points.

He however, said this would improve the chances of local riders winning the race. He added that veteran local rider Phethetso Monese, who will pair with South African Pieter Korkie stands a great chance of winning the race.

“We are expecting few professional riders this year because the race is not under UCI. However, that that increases chances for the likes of Phethetso to finally win the race.

“The reason for which the race is not under UCI this year is merely because of the budget. We decide to use the budget to ensure that our monthly Sky League succeeds. We thought it was better that we invest more in the development of local cyclists in the country, who will in coming years help grow the sport in the country before we go global,” Schmidt said.

on behalf of the sponsor Alliance Sales and marketing manager Limakatso Mokobocho said they have been with this initiative since day one and they have seen the results and happy to have been the part.

“We have been with them since day one and we have seen the potential from this event. There has been a huge influx of local cyclists doing well international so we are happy with that as Alliance. It has been a wonderful journey and we have seen a lot of responsibility from the organisers,” said Mokobocho.

Mokobocho also urged that Lesotho sky start to recruit more Basotho ladies into cycling.

“We need to see more ladies from Lesotho in cycling, we need to start to be campaigning for that,” she said.

Lesotho will be represented by five athletes and three teams this year with a pair of Lichaba West and Katleho Manasi riding for Standard bank Lesotho, Malefetsane Lesofe and Eric Ramohanoe representing African Dream Team and Monese who will be pairing with Korkie riding for Alliance Insurance Company.

The race is sponsored by Alliance Insurance Company, Standard Lesotho Bank, Lesotho Flour mills just to name the few.

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