TOP cyclist, Phetetso Monese says he is ready to defend his national championship trophy as local riders gear up for the 60 kilometre marathon to be staged at Ha-Tsiame, Masowe on 8 August.
Monese who represented Lesotho at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil said although it would not be a walk in a park, he still expected to win.
“I prepared well for the competition,” Monese said.
“I will be competing with the aim of defending my title but I know it’s not going to be an easy task. Good things don’t come easy so I need to redouble my efforts.
“I have been riding in different competitions this year and I am in good shape,” Monese said.
Monese added that competition was increasing locally, especially in his stable, the Sufferfest African Dream Team.
“The competition is growing in the country and that is a good thing for the sport. There are good riders in my team as well as others who can give me a tough time so I need to be strong.”
Lesotho Cycling Association (LCA) president Sehaole Mpopo said this was the most important event in their calendar as it gave riders the chance to gain points for national rankings.
“This is one of the most important events on our calendar where points are gained. So the cyclists will all be aiming to do well.
“It is actually divided into two races, a marathon and a cross country,” Mpopo said.
He also said it was important for athletes to do well as the event was part of preparations for next year’s Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast in Australia.
“The points gained at this year’s event will be used when selecting the Commonwealth Games team because in order to qualify a country needs good rankings. The good news is that we are safe as we are ranked second in Africa behind South Africa,” he said.
He also revealed that Nedbank Lesotho had injected M20 000 sponsorship, part of which would be used as prize money.
“The fact that we have Nedbank sponsorship will be good motivation to athletes and it will certainly increase the competition as there will be monetary prizes,” Mpopo said.