Women cyclists in promising elite debut

HARARE - Cycling Zimbabwe women representatives made a promising elite championship debut after Helen Mitchell and Skye Davidson placed eighth and 11th in the Africa Championships in Casablanca,  Morocco last Thursday.

Both Mitchell and Davidson earlier took part in the individual time trial run (race against the clock) last Tuesday where they finished in similar positions. Stacey Hyslop, the third member of the women team watched from the side lines and did not take part in the 31km tough course as only two riders per country were permitted in the time trial run.

Hyslop, however, raced in the main African Championships 120km race and finished a distant 26 out of 32 starters and 11 countries represented.

Cycling Zimbabwe coach Linda Davidson said she was impressed with the girls’ show on their elite championship debut.

“They (Mitchell and Davidson) were only 24 seconds apart and four minutes off the winning time. While this sounds like a lot over 55 minutes of racing at elite level it’s a great start to their elite career,” Davidson said of the time trial run.

“All the three girls raced the road race on Thursday’s 120km and a very gruelling and tactical race. The South Africans were a very strong team and set a tough pace.

“Our girls were not able to answer the fast attacks but all three worked as a team and kept fighting back into the group. The Sprint finish was won by Namibia, with South Africa claiming silver and Mauritius bronze.”

“It must be said that Stacey was only six minutes behind after 120km against world class women in her first ever road bike competition for Zimbabwe. The team manager Dave Martin and myself as coach are super proud of these girls and their courage and determination.”

Meanwhile, it was a different scenario with the elite men representatives Chad Scallan and Shine Doko who also took part in the same championships on Friday.

“Chad and Shine Dojo raced on Friday (last week). Chad managed 120km of the 180km route and he became unwell. Shine crashed and had to retire,” added Davidson.

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