The countryâ€™s top mountain bike cyclists were no match for their South African counterparts as they faltered during the Cross â€“ Country Olympic that took place in Free State on Sunday.
Lesotho had four top cyclists competing in the race none of whom made it to the top-10 cut, with Tumelo Makae coming out in 19th positions with a time of 1:39:09. He was followed by former Lesotho mountain bike champion Phetetso Monese who clocked 1:43:13 and finished in position 25.
Lichaba West was struggling to catch up to the rest of the riders ahead of him with Arno Du Toit passing him which led to his race results being a LAP. Du Toit subsequently won the race with a time of 1:29:06.
The fourth cyclist from Lesotho, Ramohanoe Ramohanoe did not finish the race due to illness.
According to the Federation of Cycling Lesotho (FCL) Public Relations Officer (PRO) Maleane Morie, they sent the cyclists to the competition as an exercise to assess them even though they were aware not fully prepared.
Lesotho will be sending a number of top athletes to the African Mountain Bike Championship (AMBTC) to be held in Windhoek, Namibia from 11-14 April 2022.
â€œThe reason we sent them to the competition although they were not fully prepared was for assessment of their level of competitiveness and we are happy with what we saw, now we are going to assist them.
â€œWe are going to be preparing a team that will be representing Lesotho at the upcoming African championships in Namibia so we needed to know where our riders are at the moment,â€ Morie said.
Morie attributed the dismal performance to the difference in altitude between South Africa and Lesothoâ€™s landscape.
FCL will also be hosting the national Road Championships which will be Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) rated. The race is scheduled for 12 March 2022 at Tikoe Industrial Area, with the Road Race penned for 2 April 2022 at Moshoeshoe 1 Airport.