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National MTB Championship on in December

The national cycling champion Tumelo Makae

Nov. 23, 2020 2 min read

2 min read

ONE of Lesotho’s premium cycling events, the National Mountain Bike Championship will be held on December 12 in Ha Tšiame, after it was suspended for four months due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the Federation of Cycling Lesotho (FCL) publicist Malefane Morie, the annual race is normally held in August or September but was this time around postponed when all local sporting activities were banned in March because of the pandemic.

“We could have held the race sooner after the ban on sporting activities was lifted but we decided to shift it to December to allow our defending champion, Tumelo Makae who is based in Switzerland to be back for the tournament,” he said, adding they could not hold the event without the national champion.

Makae arrived in Lesotho two weeks ago for the Christmas holiday.

“He could not fly to Lesotho earlier due to air transport restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 lockdown in Switzerland,” Morie also said.

Makae is currently based at the International Cycling Union (UCI) Training Centre, where he trains under the Olympic Solidarity Athlete Scholarship through the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC).

Before defending his title in the upcoming event, the cyclist who is a member of the Sufferfest African Dream Team will compete in another race in South Africa on December 5.

Morie said the federation decided to make registrations for the December 12 event through online to avoid the issue of competitors queuing up on the competition day.

“We are highly committed to observing COVID-19 protocols before and during the event, hence we prohibit sharing of bicycles, helmets, pumps or any tools during the event,” he also noted.

The competitors, he said will be screened before and after the show, adding that no spectators will watch the race.

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According to the race technical guidelines, registrations will close at midnight on the eve of the race and no registration will be done at the venue. Only distribution of numbers will be conducted.   

Riders are expected to maintain a social distance of at least two from one another before the starting time, during the race and after the race. A socially distanced prize-giving ceremony will also be held after the event for the top five finishers only.

There will be no price monies awarded this year, but the winners are scheduled to get UCI rankings. The national female champion, Likeleli Masitise is set to defend her title.

The race categories comprise Junior Boys, Youth Boys, Under 14 Boys and Girls as well as Development Riders. The senior sections include the Elite and Veteran Women, Veteran Men and Elite Men.  

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