Monday, July 4, 2022

Nerves to tingle as BCA cyclists brace for photo finish

A very tight race is expected this coming Sunday as the Botswana Cycling Association (BCA) hosts the third and final round of its national championships.

With no cyclist guaranteed a podium finish, the race is open due to the point system used to select the overall national championships winner. Therefore, there will be plenty to fight for come Sunday.

Kagiso Potongwane, interim BCA chairman, said under the system, the cyclist who accumulates the least number of points will be crowned the national champion.

Speaking in an interview, the BCA Interim Chairman said the position a cyclist acquires from the race is equated as his or her points.

“Under this system, if a cyclist gets first position in all the three races, he/she will be given a point for each race, meaning that at the end of the third race, he will have acquired three (3) points, which is the least amount of points that can be acquired. By acquiring the least number of points overall, the cyclist will be crowned a winner,” Potongwane explained.

Currently, the race for the national championship crown is led by teenage cycling sensation Bernardo Ayuso in the men’s section.┬á Veteran cyclist, Debbie Baillie, leads heads the pecking order in women’s section. Both sit on two points after winning the time trials and the road race in their respective categories.

In the men’s category, Ayuso is closely followed by Sean McCormick and Victor Potgieter. McCormick is on position two having accumulated seven points after coming fourth and third in the time trial and road race respectively. Potgieter is on third position with eight points after coming sixth and second in the two races.

In the ladies’ category, Baillie is closely followed by Lynne Garnham and Hillary O’Leary, with five points and eight points respectively.

Garnham got her five points after coming third and second in the time trials and road race respectively while O’Leary got hers after coming second and fifth in the respective races. Despite being at the top of the leader board, none of the cyclists is guaranteed to win the championship and the race is still very open.

“If one or all of the cyclists finishes with double digit points due to their position at the end of the race or due to retirement from the race, they can still lose the championship. The difference in points is not so big between the cyclists and everything is possible,” Potongwane explained. At least 95 cyclists are expected to grace the weekend’s race, with the winners of the race expected to walk away with a P3000 cash prize. The runners up and third position berths will attract P1 500 and P750 respectively.

Meanwhile, the race’s route organizer, Seamus O’Neill, said the cyclists will not have it easy during the third and final round of the championships.

O’Neill said there would not be any steep climbs often associated with mountain bike races. The weekend’s race will be expected to be quick and very technical.

“This race will require the cyclists to possess a certain amount of ability to navigate and pace themselves accordingly,” O’Neill explained.

Riding through Jeep tracks and single track routes, the riders will start their race at the Wharic Park, then head to the Gaborone Yacht Club and Mokolodi before heading back through Kgale. The men’s race will be a 78 km sprint composed of three laps while the women’s will be a 54 km race composed of two laps. The race, which will start at 7 O’clock in the morning will finish at the Wharic Park. The overall winners of the national championships, in both the men and women’s categories, are expected to clinch the P2 500 cash prizes each.┬á


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