Msunduzi Challenge gets boost
Pietermaritzburg - The field for this weekend’s Msunduzi Road Challenge, the only African leg of the UCI World Cycling Tour, will have a distinct international flavour after the entries from a group of Mozambiquan cycling enthusiasts recently passed across organisers’ desks.
Mario Traversi, Partick Verissimo, Carlos Sales and Lars Norén of the Clube de Ciclismo de Moçambique in Maputo are raring to go as they look to qualify for next year’s UWCT Final, also to be staged over the same course around Pietermaritzburg.
“I really just want to stay with the bunch and hopefully qualify for the 2012 UWTC Final which will be in South Africa again next year,” said the group’s ringleader Traversi. “If I manage to qualify I will then start an intensive training specifically for the Final.”
“The fact that the final is in South Africa, our Southern African neighbour, is really great for us from the Maputo Club, if we qualify!” he added.
Traversi’s sentiments were echoed by his fellow clubman Carlos Sales. “I’ve never taken part in a UCI Masters event before so to be able to compete in a race of this nature really is a very unique opportunity for us and we’re very focused on doing well and hopefully qualifying for next year’s Final.”
Having completed the Argus, 94.7 and the Lowveld Tour for some participating in South African events may not be a completely foreign concept, the Msunduzi will however will be a different challenge altogether.
“The race profile looks quite tough and the distance will make for a long race however we have some longer races in Mozambique so hopefully we'll stay the distance,” said Traversi.
“I don't know that area at all, but I'm told it's quite hilly,” he added.
“My wife and I had a fantastic holiday in South Africa in 2004 but I’ve never raced here so it will be something completely new for me,” added Norén.
Success for all four riders at the recent Goba Siteki in Swaziland along with sound health, a good preparation phase and their enjoyment of local races should see all four put in solid performances this weekend.
“I’m currently injury free,” said a confident Sales. “I had a good Argus earlier this year and I was happy with my times in the Panorama Tour and Clover Lowfield so I feel I’m in very good shape at the moment.”
“I like South African events as I find them very well organised and well attended with excellent race support and safety. I just hope for cool weather on race day,” said Traversi.
The Msunduzi Road Challenge cycle race takes place on Sunday 30 October in Pietermaritzburg and is preceded by a time trial on Saturday 29 October.