MASERU — The third annual Lesotho Sky mountain bike race is set to start.
The dedicated horde of 14 local riders is ready to take on 46 international riders from all over Europe and beyond in a six-day riding challenge by Lesotho Sky from September 22 to 27.
These 60 riders will cycle a total of 389 kilometres from Roma through Ramabanta and Malealea then back to Roma again.
Team Lesotho will be spearheaded by Alliance Insurance and Standard Bank teams who have both won the two previous races.
Other teams are Letšeng Diamond, Vodacom Lesotho, Nedbank Lesotho and Maluti Mountain Brewery.
International riders will include teams: Craft-Rocky Mountain from Germany, Scott Factory Racing from South Africa and Team Versluys-Contego from Belgium.
“I grew up and attended primary school at Morija, then left for Germany (his home country).
“I came back ten years later only to discover that Lesotho is really a phenomenal country with beautiful scenery and great altitude,” said Christian Schmidt (founder of Lesotho Sky) said on Tuesday.
“I saw a lot of potential as I perceived this country as a rough diamond in regard to sports and tourism.
“I then developed a cycling group which grew annually until we could host the first Lesotho Sky race.
Schmidt added that the race has now been internationally accredited and is said to be the biggest cycling event in the southern hemisphere.
On behalf of the sponsors, Liepollo Tsekoa from Alliance Insurance (the sole sponsor) said: “Alliance Insurance made a promise to align itself with initiatives of the nature at hand, being our way of giving back to the community.
“We feel honoured to be part of this event that has now gone global.
“We have been part of it since its dawn till this very moment and we are more than glad to see the list of sponsors growing.”
The race will be launched by a 24-kilom etre urban time-trial race from Maseru Mall to Lesotho Sun Hotel scheduled for day one.
The teams will race alone against a set time frame and one that completes with the shortest time wins.
President of Lesotho cyclists, Tumisang Taabe, said his team is ready.
“Team Lesotho is excited, fit and ready for the race.
“We promise the sponsors and Basotho that the title will stay here at home because we are not scared of the foreign riders.
“We urge the community of Basotho to come and support us during the race as we are doing this for the country, not just for us as individual riders.”
The race will end in Roma with a prize giving ceremony while local deejays provide entertainment.