IT'S all systems go for the Tour de Windhoek which kicks off on the Dordabis Road outside the capital on Friday morning.
Top cyclists from Namibia and South Africa will compete in the five-stage race which takes place for the third consecutive year with Pupkewitz Megabuild as the main sponsor.
It is the third successive year that the tour will take place and organiser Mannie Heymans said everything was in place to stage a top class event.
"Everything is on track and we are looking forward to a successful tour. Six South African men's teams and one women's team have entered, while we will have 16 men and six women's teams in total," he said.
"We made some changes to the route, and I believe it will be more spectator friendly this year with the kermesse at the Tony Rust Race Track on Friday afternoon," he added.
The defending champion Nolan Hoffmann will be back with his Team Enza-PBC, which includes top riders like David Maree, Lee Crotz and Titus Juries and they should once again be amongst the favourites.
They can expect tough competition from Pro Touch, who have entered two teams - Pro Touch Continental and Pro Touch Spider Tech - while the other South African teams are ACDC, Officeguru Racing and Tegpro Racing.
Amongst the Namibian teams, Hollard Life, who won the Windhoek Pedal Power series earlier this year, should give the South Africans a run for their money, although they will be without national cyclist Drikus Coetzee who is currently in England to compete in the World Time Trial Championships next week.
They still have a strong team though with riders like Xavier Papo, Gerhard Mans and Ingram Cuff in their midst.
Team Kia Elite, which includes Andre de Klerk, Danzel de Koe and Dieter Koen; Team Cathy , including Jacques Celliers, JP Burger and Pierre Knoetze; and Team NCCS, including Fiffy Kashululu, Jojo Hamnuyela and Jafet Amukushu should also be in the mix.
Amongst the women, the South African team Customized Cycling Bioplus Ladies, consisting of Kyra Hemple, Courtney Smith and Charlissa Schultz can expect strong competition from the Pupkewitz Megabuild team, which includes Namibian mountain bike Olympian Michelle Vorster, and two South African riders, Courtney Webb and Danielle Strydom.
The action starts at 08h00 this morning with the 107km Dordabis Road Race, while the second stage, the team time trial, will be held at the Tony Rust Race Track, starting at 16h00 on Friday afternoon.
Two stages will once again be held on Saturday, with the 90km road race starting at 08h00 at Pupkewitz Megabuild in central Windhoek and going out on to the Western Bypass to Dobra in the morning, and the criterium once again around Pupkewitz Megabuild in central Windhoek, starting at 17h00.
The fifth and final stage will be held on Sunday morning, starting and finishing at the Tony Rust Race Track and going out onto the Daan Viljoen Road, up to Matchless Mine.
The tour will be concluded with the prize giving ceremony at about 12h00 on Sunday at the Tony Rust Race Track.