The 2019 edition of the Tour de Limpopo kicks off this morning from Warmbaths, A Forever Resort, in Bela Bela, at 09:00.
With the registration and team introduction behind us, all teams are focused and ready to tackle the 181-kilometre route along the R101 to Polokwane. Nineteen domestic and international cycling teams will be competing for top honours over the four-day UCI Africa Tour 2.2 stage race taking place in the province from 14-18 May.
Welcoming many domestic and international racing teams is all part of the excitement and anticipation of a tour of this nature, and Benediction Cycling Team (from Rwanda) and Club Cycliste Saint-Louisien (from Reunion) are two of the teams of the 19-strong field.
Rwandan cycling is growing massively in popularity at a rapid rate and although still considered new to cycling (for the past 12-13 years), it is no wonder that the nation registered their UCI Continental Team at the end of 2018, for the first time in the history of Rwandan cycling.
Team Manager Simon Hupperetz says that looking ahead for the next three to five years, they have some young riders in the team and are ready to achieve great heights even as a development team with a small budget.
“We are very happy to be here in South Africa – the races here are always well organised. Its’ also not too far to travel and our local airline – Rwanda Air – is a partner of the team and flies to Johannesburg every day of the week. There are different race challenges in South Africa versus Rwanda – here we have open roads, straight lines, and wind to content with, whereas Rwanda is a very hilly country without wind.”
Speaking about the form of his team, Simon said, “We’re coming here with riders who haven’t raced much but are physically very strong. This is their first international race after the Tour du Rwanda in March, so it’s time to race again!”
The small island of Reunion, situated close to Mauritius, has entered a team this year. Experiencing a few firsts – first time in South Africa, first time in Africa for many of the riders, first UCI race for all of them – the team is ready to add this high-status race to their accolades.
Team Manager Andre Pellegrin says, “This is not a new team, but we’re coming from a little island, which is part of France, and it is difficult to go to other races as they are far away.
“There is a lot of domestic racing in Reunion, but you’ll find its always the same riders and the same sort of the race. This week, our team is expecting to discover another level of racing and our goal is not to be the last over the finish line.”
To view the teams that will be participating in the 2019 Tour de Limpopo, visit: https://www.tourdelimpopo.co.za/teams
The 2019 Tour de Limpopo will be available to view on live streaming on race days and will go live at the following times:
- Wednesday 15 May = 10:30
- Thursday 16 May = 10:00
- Friday 17 May = 10:00
- Saturday 18 May = 09:00
Live streaming can be viewed at www.tourdelimpopo.co.za.
Live timing and provisional results can be found immediately after the race at Mobii Timing: http://www.mobiielite.com/results/results.php?RaceID=a08f2b4d-6afd-4449-ac40-094b8d6c3aad