SKY Events, the organisers of the annual Lesotho Sky Race, have promised fire-works when 87 cyclists compete in in the six-day race from 2 to 7 October this year.
The 392 kilometre race will held in Ramabanta, Semonkong, Malealea and Roma.
Event founder and director, Christina Schmidt, said the event was gaining popularity every year and this edition would feature cyclists from South Africa, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Kenya, Austria and hosts, Lesotho.
“We started seven years ago with only 22 riders but we have gradually grown and this year we have participants from three continents.
“This is a six day mountain bike race that has grown to be one of the biggest in the region under the Union of International Cyclist (UCI),” Schmidt said.
Lesotho will be represented by 10 riders who will be riding for some of the companies that are sponsoring the event.
Day one will see cyclists doing a loop in Ramabanta (59km) and on the next day they will cycle to Roma (52km). On Day three they will do a loop in Roma (70 km), on Day four they will cycle to Malealea (87km) and on to Ramabanta on Day five (63 km). The last race will be a 38 kilometre loop in Semonkong.
Schmidt said Blackmix Lesotho are their public relations partners as they seek to further promote the event.
“We have new partners, Blackmix Lesotho who are marketing the event as the target is grow it further.
“Blackmix helped us to come up with activities like 38 kilometre and 14 kilometre mountain bike riding as well as a seven kilometre fun walk, pony trekking and abseiling which are open to everyone.
“I also thank our sponsors, some who have been with us since we started in 2011. This event wouldn’t have been a success were it not for them and hopefully with them by our side we will be bigger next year.”
Africa Dream Team manager, Mark West, said the event had contributed to improving the standards of cycling in the country.
“We were number 42 in last year’s UCI world rankings but we are now ranked 26. In Africa we are still second behind South Africa.
“Such competitions enable our athletes to compete against some of the world’s best, helping them to grow in confidence while also enabling them to gain points and improve in the UCI rankings as the race is officially affiliated with UCI,” West said.
“For now Africa Dream Team is the only professional cycling team in Africa and we have 10 riders, eight of them male.
“One of the females is from Botswana. This has been one of a very demanding season for us as we have been competing in different competitions but at the same time it has been very rewarding and I am proud of the team that will participate in this race,” he said.