WINDHOEK, 11 APR – The NCCS Pro Cycling team is ready compete in the inaugural four-day 2018 Tour de Limpopo in South Africa from 22 to 26 April.
The race, which will be held in stages, will comprise the International Cycling Union (UCI) Africa Tour 2.2 stage elite race and a veteran’s tour that will follow the same routes as the elite race.
The race is expected to start in the capital city of Polokwane, heading east to the town of Tzaneen, covering a total distance of 427,6 kilometre (km) with big climbs expected during the stages.
Jacob Kiyola, NCCS Pro Cycling’s principal and communications manager, told Nampa on Tuesday that competing in the race will help their riders gain the much-needed experience of international competitions as well as get UCI points, which will help them when qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
“We have been invited to the Tour de Limpopo by the organisers and this will be our first international tour for this year. As a team, we want to see how well we can compete with the best teams in South Africa,” Kiyola said.
He added that they have assembled a team of riders from their stable and other teams because they want to expose the riders to greater competition, which will help them grow as riders.
“Our goal while in Limpopo is to at least finish in the top five, if not three, in the team events,” he said, adding that he is also hoping to have some of their riders in the top 10 of the individual riders’ general classification rankings.
NCCS Pro Cycling co-owner and manager, Ebben-Ezer Iita stated that the level of cycling in Namibia is at a lower level than that of South Africa, but their aim is to build a strong team that will, in the years to come, represent the country at international competitions.
“If you look at our riders, like the upcoming ones, you can see they have the talent but lack the experience and we want to expose all these young athletes to this international competition so they can gain more experience,” said Iita.
He added that the team will depart from Namibia on 19 April by road to enable them to arrive early and do some training before the competition. He added that they have learned from lessons of yesteryear when they travelled to competitions outside the country and their riders did not have enough time to train before the competition.
The team will be comprised of Chipopeni Kashululu (captain); Jafet Amukushu, Marckernzy Eiseb, Xavier Renzo Papo, Danzel Dekoe and Gouws Wynandt.