MASERU – Lesotho cyclists are once again expected to put up their best performance at the National Road Championship in Maseru this Saturday. Tomorrow’s championship follows the Road Bike Marathon Championship held on April 11 in Maseru. Federation of Cycling Lesotho’s Public Relations Officer, Malefane Morie, said both championships are important for the country’s world and continental rankings.
“The main purpose of the upcoming National Road Championships is for us to collect points for the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) rankings,” said Morie in an interview with Public Eye on Wednesday. “It is also for our cyclists to intensify their chances of qualifying for big events like Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games, amongst others.”
Morie further said: “It is the same thing applies with the Road Bike Marathon Championship which we held on April 11 as the main purpose was to collect points for the UCI rankings.” According to Morie, points collected from the Road Bike Marathon Championship were yet to be sent to the UCI. He said they would be sent together with points to be garnered from the National Road Championship taking place tomorrow. Lesotho last ranked number 36 and three globally and in the continent respectively, in the mountain bike category.
Morie said it is not the same case when it comes to the road bike category after Lesotho spent several years suspending road bike championships. “We have about six years suspending road bike races simply because of heavy traffic in the country, hoping that when times goes on the traffic would slow down but we have realised that would not be the case anytime soon and hence why we have decided to resume with our road bike championships,” Morie said.
Elite riders are to compete in the 35 kilometres race at tomorrow’s championship as well as the under-23 competitors, in both male and female categories, while the under-19 competitors will contest in the 30 kilometres race.
The 2021 Road Bike Marathon Championship winners Teboho Khantši in male elite category, Lemohang Mokherane in female elite category, Karabelo Makatile and Tšepiso Lerata in the under-23 boys and girls respectively are all expected to compete for the upcoming National Road Championships. Lesotho may also hold another championship in August this year; that time around being the Mountain Bike Championship.
The championship was held in December last year due to the COVID-19 lockdown. “We normally hold it in August but that had to change last year because of the lockdown due to COVID-19. “So as of now we are not sure when we are going to hold it,” Morie said. Lesotho Switzerland based cyclist Tumelo Makae, Morie said would definitely have to come home to defend his title in the Mountain Bike Championship by the time the event takes place.
“Tumelo Makae, being the champion of the Mountain Bike Championship, will have to come down home to defend his title when the race takes place.” Makae is currently based in Switzerland where he is preparing for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games.