Two cyclists off to Cape Town

Two cyclists off to Cape Town

MASERU – The Federation of Cycling Lesotho has sent two cyclists to Cape Town, South Africa, for a two-week camp ahead of next month’s African Continental Road Championships in Mauritius.
The continental competition will be held from March 23 to 29 and will feature Africa’s best road cyclists.

Lesotho’s team in Mauritius will comprise of Cabonina Koqo – who will compete in the Under-23 competition – and Malefetsane Lesofe, who will contest the elite men’s race, and the duo will finalise their preparations in Cape Town.

The pair was previously selected for a training camp in Bloemfontein last December following impressive performances throughout 2019 and, in Cape Town, Koqo and Lesofe will have the chance to work with a select group of coaches chosen by the African Cycling Confederation (CAC).
It is a golden opportunity for the duo to fine-tune ahead of their continental outing.

According to Federation of Lesotho Cycling spokesperson Malefane Morie, a few more local riders were selected by CAC for the Cape Town camp but the association could only afford to send two cyclists.
Ultimately, Koqo and Lesofe were picked because they were the best performers of the group, Morie said.

“(Koqo and Lesofe) will be under the guidance of coaches from the African Cycling Confederation. There were other riders that were selected for the camp but we were only able to fund trips for those two,” he explained.
The camp will end on March 11 and both cyclists are expected to return home in time to compete in the Bocheletsane Cycling Tour which is set for March 14.

The annual race will start at the Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) Park offices in Maseru and will finish at Bocheletsane Combined School.
The Bocheletsane Cycling Tour will be Koqo and Lesofe’s final competitive tune-up ahead of the African Continental Road Championships which will consist of a road race, time-trial and team time-trial.

“The cyclists that are still at home (while Koqo and Lesofe are in Cape Town) will be under the guidance of their coaches and they will take part in Bocheletsane race,” Morie said.
“We expect (Koqo and Lesofe) to participate as well because they are coming back on March 11 and the race is on March 14,” he continued.
“Over the years we have been going to Mauritius with a mountain bike team.

Last year, for the first time in 10 years, we only went with one road bike rider but he didn’t finish the race. We are hoping that this year we will at least take two (cyclists) so that (they) can have a partner,” Morie said.
Meanwhile, Morie confirmed Tumelo Makae is the only local cyclist who still has a chance of making it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in July and August.

Makae, a silver medallist at the African Mountain Bike Continental Championships in 2017, has been based at International Cycling Union (UCI) World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland since 2018 in an effort to crack the Olympics’ qualifying standards.

Morie said the Federation of Cycling Lesotho is confident Makae will go to the Olympics either via a normal qualification or through a special invitation for his performances.

This past Sunday, Makae did well at the Copa Catalana International race in Spain where he finished 80th out of 205 riders.
The rest of Lesotho’s cyclists have already been ruled out of contention for Tokyo 2020 and hopes now rest on Makae.

If Makae does make it to the Olympics it would be his first appearance at the Games.
He would follow in the footsteps of Phetetso Monese who became the first Lesotho cyclist to qualify for the Olympic Games in 2016.

Tlalane Phahla

 

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