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Cycling in Zimbabwe gets a boost

Cycling in Zimbabwe will be getting a much needed revival from the UCI and the Belgian company, Eye Works, reports the Zimbabwe Herald. Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) chief executive, Robert Mutsauki, said that contracts with the International Cycling Union (UCI) and Eye Works will help bring the country's top cyclists to continental and international competitions.

Cyclists in Zimbabwe have not had the best results in continental competition in recent years, and Mutsauki hopes that by sending the athletes to more competitions, they will gain the experience necessary to find success. "The [cyclists'] final preparation program for the All-Africa Games consists of participation in the Africa Continental Championships and B World Championships," Mutsauki said.

Mutsauki said that aid from the two organizations will also help the country produce cyclists capable of participation in future Olympic games. "The future of cycling in Zimbabwe is promising in the run up to the All-Africa Games, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2012 Olympic Games in London," Mutsauki told the Zimbabwe Herald.

Cycling in Zimbabwe wasn't always at the level at which it currently sits. In the 1970's, the late Samson Moyo was a cycling star who became a household name in the region, and made the sport one of the most revered disciplines. But lack of sponsorship and loss of interest have led to cycling's decline in Zimbabwe over the past decades.

Five Zimbabwean athletes, Conway Mohamed, Dean Hayes, Abel Muchenje, Dave Martin and Linda Davidson have been selected to take part in the program, funded with $15,000 US that was set aside by the ZOC, and will use the funds to prepare for the All-Africa Games in Algiers in July, 2007.

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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.