The 2019 Tour de Limpopo concluded on high note with Italian cyclist, Samuele Battistella, claiming the overall prize at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday (May 18). The four day event, which aim to profile both tourism and sports in the province of Limpopo saw 19 domestic and international cycling teams compete for top honours over the four-day UCI Africa Tour 2.2 stage race. In its second edition this year, it was successfully staged in the lush land of Limpopo from May 15 to 18, with an introduction of brand new terrain; namely Bela Bela, Mookgophong-Modimolle and Mogalakwena municipalities in the Waterberg District.
As Limpopo Tourism Agency CEO, Nomasonto Ndlovu, indicated during a closing award ceremony on Saturday evening, Limpopo is slowly becoming a destination of choice for local and international tourists – all thanks to the event’s gradual steady rise in popularity and stature. Much like their Rwandan and Eritrean counterparts, where cycling has become the most prized sporting discipline, Limpopo is ready to take the lead as a leader in tourism.
In addition to contributing to the growth of cycling, given the ideal terrain which makes Limpopo a haven for the sport, Ndlovu said she’s proud of the remarkable legacy the race is leaving behind. “We are proud and truly honoured that we were the first in the country and in the SADC region to introduce this massive edition of the cycling race,” she said adding: “Furthermore, I am grateful that we were this year able add another gem to the race showcasing the Waterberg region. This event should not only take place without leaving a legacy in areas along its route as we should see some upcoming young cyclists start teams that will eventually compete at this level.”
Building a lasting legacy
Focused on showcasing Limpopo as a premier destination, Tour de Limpopo has grown significantly this year, given not only the high level of racing but a growing number international teams taking part – from 14 in 2018 to 18 this year. Hosted in collaboration with Cycling South Africa following a three year deal, two of the 19-strong field teams that formed part of the excitement this year include Benediction Cycling Team (from Rwanda) and Club Cycliste Saint-Louisien (from Reunion), ” a testimony to the fact that the event is on the growth trajectory,” added Ndlovu.
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