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Zimbabwe to contest the African continental cycling championships

The Zimbabwean Cycling Federation (ZCF) earlier announced that a Zimbabwean team will be represented to contest the African continental cycling championships, a UCI sanctioned event to be held in Mauritius from November 10 - 12, 2006. Participation in the continental cycling championships forms part of the ZCF's preparation plan towards the 2007 All Africa Games and Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Zimbabwe will compete in the time trial and road race in both the women's and men's categories. The women's TT is over a distance of 13 km and the men's TT is 28 km, while the road races are 80km and 144km, respectively.

Linda Davidson will represent the women while the men's team will be formed by Conway Mohamed, Abel Muchenje, Dean Hayes, Dave Martin and Gavin Sutherland.

Dave Martin is the current Zimbabwe TT champion. Mohamed and Muchenje have just returned from competing in the prestigious Tour du Faso and, at the very least, should have the mileage and stamina to do well in the road race. Hayes and Sutherland are currently based with teams in South Africa. Hayes currently rides for the pro team Exel and Sutherland features in the semi-pro Dot Com team, who recently competed in the Tour of Bulawayo.

The course in Mauritius may favour the sprinters and the Zimbabwe Team will ride tactically to place Sutherland in the best position to contest the sprint. The strongest competition is expected to come from South Africa, who is sending a full strength team that may include Tour de France rider Robbie Hunter.

Zimbabwe's participation in the continental championships comes at the end of a year that has involved the ZCF Classic Road Race series, attended by squad riders at the UCI Africa Continental Cycling Academy in South Africa, and preparation of riders through their professional teams in South Africa. Additional exposure was achieved in the Tour de Faso through an agreement between the ZCF and a Belgian based team that is promoting the search for talented riders at U23 level. The overall objective is to build a squad of riders who can compete for UCI points on the Africa ProTour and thus lead to participation at the Olympics.

Funding for participation in this event has been made available by the International Olympic Committee Solidarity Fund in liaison with Zimbabwe Olympic Committee and from the Zimbabwe Cycling Federation.

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