06 Jan 2019 13:40pm
WINDHOEK, 06 JAN (NAMPA) - The Namibian Cycling Federation (NCF) national team is ready to compete in South Africas Mpumalanga Tour, slated for 11 to 17 January 2019.
The six-stage race is the biggest road cycling event in South Africa and covers a total distance of 752 kilometres (km) in Mpumalanga Province - from Loskopdam to Badplaas, Mbombela, Graskop and Blyde River Canyon.
Johannes Hamunyela, Alex Miller, Xavier Papo, Fiffy Kashululu, Jafet Amukushu and team captain Drikus Coetzee will represent team Namibia during the six-day road race.
Speaking to Nampa on Friday, team manager Jacob Kiyola said the team is ready to compete against the best teams and riders in that country.
The Mpumalanga Tour is one of the best road tours in South Africa and as a team representing the NCF, we are happy to compete in this event because we prepared well as all our riders did over 1 000km of training, he said.
He noted that the 2019 cycling season will start off with a real test of fitness and strength.
This is a demanding tour for all teams. The competition will be very high as there are three professional continental teams that will compete in the tour, said Kiyola.
Manager and support vehicle driver, Ebben Ezer Iita also told this agency that this tour is good preparation for the upcoming National Championships which will be held from 01 to 03 February and the African Championships, where the NCF team will have an opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Team captain Coetzee, who will take part in the tour for the second time along with Kashalulu and Hamunyela, said they will try their best to help the team even though it is hard to predict the outcome as it is the first race in 2019 for all riders.
The team will be accompanied by Martin Nghilifavali who is a mechanic and NCF communication officer Benjamin Haidula.
The Mpumalanga Tour is described as ideal for cyclists to train for the South African Championships and the Cape Epic. The tour starts in the Limpopo Province, moving through the most scenic areas of Mpumalanga and comprises the following stages:
Stage 1 Blyde River to Swadini
Stage 2 Swadini to Mount Sheba
Stage 3 Mount Sheba to Mbombela Stadium
Stage 4 White River to Mbombela via Umjindi
Stage 5 Mbombela Stadium to eManzana
Stage 6 eManzana to finish at Loskopdam
The Namibian team will leave on Tuesday and are expected back in the country next Friday.