Monese fine-tunes for Lesotho Sky Race

Monese fine-tunes for Lesotho Sky Race

Maseru – With the annual Lesotho Sky Race closing in, Olympian Phetetso Monese has been hard at work fine-tuning as he aims to make a splash at one of Africa’s biggest mountain bike races. The annual showpiece will be held in September and is more important than ever because it is now categorised as a ‘Class One’ competition by the International Cycling Union (UCI) meaning it carries ranking points.

Monese is ranked 143 and is the highest rated black African rider in the world but although the Lesotho Sky is three months away, he wants to be in the best possible shape for the gruelling six-day race. Speaking to thepost this week, Monese – who rides for the ACE Sufferfest Lesotho Mountain Bike team – said he has been busy competing inside and outside the country to prepare.

Last month Monese raced at the Malealea Monster where the ACE Team dominated the 80 kilometres main event finishing first, second and fourth in the race. Monese then tested himself at the Imperani MTB Challenge in Ficksburg, South Africa, two weeks ago. “I have been feeling really good,” the 2016 Rio Olympics rider said on Tuesday. “Health-wise I am okay and I am lucky I haven’t been troubled by injuries except flu, (but) it is winter and it is expected,” he added.

“Other than that I am fine and I have been taking part in different races and preparing for big events. Before the Malealea and Ficksburg races I was in Pietermaritzburg where I really did well given my past performances there, I am happy.” The Lesotho Sky, which started off with only 22 riders in 2011 has grown into a major event which attracts professional and amateur riders from around the world.

Monese has happy memories of the race. In 2014 he teamed up with Teboho Khantsi to become the first-ever local team to win a stage at the Lesotho Sky. Monese said he will continue to compete in various races as his build-up to the Lesotho Sky. Also on his schedule are the Lesotho National Championships on July 14 and 15.

“The races I have competed in were tough but I am happy with my performances so far,” he said. “Later this month I will be in Mpumalanga competing as a part of my preparations. After that we have the national championships so I am looking forward to it and using these races to prepare myself.”

Luciah Phahla

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