Local riders hold their own in SA

Simba Jemwa, Sports Correspondent

FOUR members of local cycling club, Unimills-Hokoyo made into the top hundred of the 94.7 Ride Joburg road race that was held at the weekend in Johannesburg, South Africa.

9 299 international riders took part in what is the world’s second longest timed road race on Sunday.

Travis Stedman won the race in 2 hours 13 minutes and 30 seconds while Marc Pritzen and Chris Jooste finished second and third, respectively.

Unimills-Hokoyo captain Andrew Chikwaka was the highest placed local rider finishing 48th in a time of 2 hours 19 minutes and 45 seconds. In 2019, Chikwaka competed in the same race and finished 81st.

The 25-year-old Makokoba-born rider pushed Daryl Impey who is currently a World Tour Team rider with American based Isreal Startup Nation, a former winner of the 94.7 Ride Joburg in 2018 himself and a team mate of Chris Froome the four time Tour de France winner. For much of the race, Chikwaka held his own against the seasoned riders. Impey was 47th just one second ahead of Chikwaka in a sprint finish.

Chikwaka’s teammate and national road race champion Advocate Phiri was 63rd in a time of 2 hours 22 minutes and 2 seconds while Nkulumo Dube was placed 88th in a time of 2 hours 27 minutes and 7 seconds.

Another Unimills-Hokoyo rider, Mthokozisi Moyo crossed the finisb line in 2 hours 22 minutes 13 seconds to finish 81st.

Unimills-Hokoyo team principal, Davis Muhambi was very happy with the riders performance given the experience and quality of the peloton as well as the difficulty of the course itself.

“The results are very inspiring for a youth empowerment invitatiative that is bearly a year old. Our best rider finished 48th and we also had riders who placed 61st, 81st and 88th out of 108 Elite riders and a total of 9299 riders. It was a tough race given the callibre of international and Tour de France riders and team. This race marks the was the 1st international assignment of the team as they now begin to pursue regional and continental races after completing a clean sweep of all, nor some, but all cycling races in Zimbabwe,” Muhambi said.

Unimills-Hokoyo coach, Chris Kazingizi was also happy with his riders and had this to say: “The team is more enthusiastic after this race. They now believe in their own abilities and want to train harder. They are raring to go and take the rest of Africa. I was very happy with the performance and feel that they could have done had they not been involved in an accident while training in SA ahead od the race. No one was injured but they were a little shaken. The guys are motivated, ready to take on the world and propel the youth empowerment initiative to greater heights.”

Local riders hold their own in SA