Botswana: Tsela Riders Club Team Trials Race Success

Gaborone — Team Swift Cycling Club on Sunday capped a sterling performance at the Tsela Riders Club team time trials race held on the Boatle/Mmankgodi route.

Team Swift finished on 2:03:11 led by in-form Tshepo Sentsho, Lloyd Molale, Thabiso Mokalake and Gontse Lethokwe followed by Tsela's Red Tsela with a 2:12:21 finish whilst Blue Tsela finished on 2:27:07.

Team Swift displayed speed on the uphills and downhills to triumph on the 75km route. Its captain, Sentsho said they had been training individually and as a team to prepare for the training race and they used their strongest riders to push and take the team to the finish line.

"We are developing a competitive team," noted Team Swift coach, David Lebalelo, adding that their strategy this year was to train more on speed and engage more on time trials local races, especially during these lockdown times," he noted. He said the team treated Sunday's training race as a high intensity ride, going full speed all the way.

Starting last, almost three minutes behind the whole Tsela team, Lebalelo indicated that their goal was to eliminate the strongest team in the race and every other team, but the team surpassed their targeted performance, a move which he celebrated.

With aspirations to build a continental team in Botswana, Lebalelo noted that Team Swift's performance displayed experience from races they participated in, particularly in South Africa. He said they aspire to practice professionalism, therefore they encourage strong riders to join, in their quest to building a continental team, which will be ready to compete and participate in continental races.

A first since the COVID-19 Sprint Series race in July, after the easing of restrictions on sport activities, Tsela Riders Club successfully staged team time trials training race, with seven teams of four, tackling three loops on a 75km circuit. Held under strict COVID-19 safety and prevention protocols, Tsela Riders Club chairperson, Ediretse Ramahobo explained that the teams were competing for points for their club's internal league and each team was grouped according to participants' strengths.

Ramahobo indicated that the team time trials race was motivated by the COVID-19 Sprint Series, which was an individual time trial race, adding that they chose to make the race even more interesting with a different race formats.

"With the dynamics around the team time trials, you are bound with your peers and cannot separate from them," he stated, saying it was therefore important how the team members were combined.

He said in the race, simulation of four people each would need a cluster around them where they would have their best and other people to assist that best person to move around. "We need to play around with such combinations in preparation for competitive races when they come," stated Ramahobo, adding that they do need to practice in teams.

Furthermore, he said they invited other clubs and expressed gratitude to Team Swift for honouring the invite. He commended Team Swift for their excellent performance, saying they assembled a strong team, which worked very well for them.

He also applauded them for outclassing his club teams, adding that it was what they needed in cycling as they always need to compete with others."It is always good to test your strength against your peers," charged Ramahobo.

He appealed to other clubs to initiate club races and invite each other and avoid slumping, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. He said the time was now to self-sustain as no one was certain of company sponsorships for competitive races, particularly as big races have not taken place due to the pandemic.

He said riders would feel the pinch more without races taking place as they would not be training appropriately. "To keep them in tip top shape, there is need to infuse races where possible," stated Ramahobo.

Source : BOPA

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