THE South African duo of Reinhard Zellhuber and Andrew Hill has won the eighth edition of the six-day and 369-kilometre Lesotho Sky in the male category.
The riders were crowned winners yesterday afternoon in Roma after beating French riders Allard Basile and Remy Bourdon who came second while Lesotho’s Phetetso Monese and Tumelo Makae (Team Alliance) settled for third in the male category.
Malefetsane Lesofe and Katleho Manasi (team Standard Lesotho Bank) came fourth.
Bakang Ebudilwe and Likeleli Masitise (team Vodacom) came first as the only female team under Union Cycliste International (UCI) riding in the elite women category.
Sufferrest African team manager Mark West said he was satisfied with how his riders fared in this year’s edition of the race which started on Monday and ended yesterday in Roma.
“I think they did fairly well given all the circumstances,” West said.
“They did their best and hopefully they will improve each year.”
West hailed Monese’s combination with youngster Makae and said it was one to watch in the future.
“Makae struggled with endurance in the first two days but he improved each day and I think they make a good combination which will be one of the best in future.
“Monese dropped a step down this year and it’s a bit worrying but it was his first-time riding with Makae so they will get there. There is still room for improvement for all of the six of them.
“It’s also about who they were racing against so I think the competition was a bit tight this year,” West said.
On both Bakang and Likeleli’s performance, West said it was important that they came first as it will improve their UCI ranking.
“It is important to collect points in this type of competition because they help to improve riders’ points in world rankings,” he said.
West said now their focus would shift to the African Championships scheduled for next year.
“Both Makae and Ebadilwe will be flying back to Switzerland (World Cycling Center) on Tuesday but here we are approaching the off season.
“Our focus now is going to shift to next year’s African Championships because those are going to be our ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” West said.
Meanwhile, the race organiser, Christian Schmidt said this year’s race was a bit different from past years and gave riders different experiences.
“We didn’t move a lot this year and you could see the riders were happy about it as it gave them a little bit of time to rest,” Schmidt said.
He said this year, they started with 66 riders but only 55 managed to finish all the stages of the race.
“We had 66 riders who started but only 55 managed to finish as some pulled out along the way but it was still good and we hope we will see the race improving next year,” Schmidt said.