Manicaland Cycle Challenge on this weekend

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Road Cycling Association (ZRCA) will this weekend host the Manicaland Cycle Challenge in Vumba.

The challenge is open to both professional and non-professional cyclists with the race scheduled to start from Mutare, heading into the scenic Vumba Mountains over Saturday and Sunday.

Elite riders and mountain bikers will take off from Penhalonga Village for a 68km hill climb while non-elite (37km), casual and stage riders will complete a 34km cycle.

After the successful completion of the crit race in March, won by Realdo Jessurun in the men’s event, ZRCA last weekend moved to the first phase of the master of sprint events that was well attended.

At the crit, the open women saw a three-way tie for first place between Linda Davidson, Linda Rousea and Greer Wynn while Hellenic School’s Helen Mitchell won the junior girls’ category.

In the junior boys’ category, Luke Collins of St Johns’ College emerged victorious after beating off the challenge of Chad Scallan, Jonathan Rusch, Alastair Derry and Josh Koutoungos.

A total of 31 cyclists went through their paces on Saturday at the master of sprints while 25 took part on Sunday in the event that was code named Cappuccino rides.

ZRCA president Dave Martin explained the concept behind the code name.

“Riders started on a fresh morning from Willowbean Coffee Shop and rode to Wild Geese Lodge, 12.5km,” Martin told the Daily News.

“Some stopped and took the time to take in the scenery and refreshments while others just turned around and rode back to Willowbean for more refreshments and a bite to eat.”

The event saw three categories being contested in namely, open men and open ladies going through a long course root while the youth boys participated in a short course.

An early break by Conrad Wing-Davies in the open men race kept a high pace in the peloton (main group of riders) as they road hard to keep the gap in control.

David Martin, who was helping keep the pace high, punctured at 20km and never managed to re-join the peloton.

Shortly after Wing-Davies was caught, Realdo Jessurun winner of the crit race, Bright Chipongo and Nkulumo Dube turned the pressure on and managed to break away from the peloton.

The group held their lead into the first sprint with Jessuren taking maximum points, Chipongo second and Dube third.

With such an elite group at the front, the peloton failed to bring them back before the second sprint.

“Jessurun was dominant again but Dube managed to get ahead of Chipongo on this one leaving Chipongo and Dube level on points with one sprint to come.

“As the race went on Dube lost his legs and could not keep up the pace. Jessurun and Chipongo came to the final sprint together.

“In a final show of dominance, Jessurun took the honours leaving Chipongo in second place.  In the race behind, the peloton caught Dube and Michael Crowe came to the front showing his strength to take third place.”

In the women’s race, there were only two participants with Greer Wynn showing her strength, dominating the peloton to take maximum points over Izabela Wlosowicz.

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