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MBABANE – A fierce battle for a podium finish is on the cards in next Saturday’s MTN Khemani Cycle Classic.

South Africa’s cycling heavyweights Sampada are among visiting teams that are expected to parade teams in the eagerly-awaited MTN Khemani Cycle Classic at Croydon outside Madlangempisi.

The main race, which will be 130km long, gets underway at 7am. Race Marketing Officer and MTN Khemani Team Manager Sabelo Maziya confirmed the return of Sampada, who produced a podium finisher in the past year.

Jan Montshioa from Sampada was third in last year’s race after clocking 03:42:36 hours.
Sampada deserve no introduction, as they are one of the forceful teams in South Africa.

They feature in major tours around the world. They are fresh from the celebrated Tour du Rwanda, which was staged early this month.
The neighbouring country will have not less than 10 teams and they include the returning Proud Beginners as well as three ladies teams that comprise Cycle Nation and Demacon.

NCCS Cycling Team, on the other hand, are also set to make a stop in the country for a second year straight. They are one of the top teams from Namibia.
“We’re also expecting Uganda Cycling Association,” said Maziya.

Finishing in the top two in the past year was the visiting duo of Reynard Butler and Calvin Beneke from South Africa’s Team BCX with a time of 03:34:16 and 03:34:17 hours, respectively. Eight-placed Mduduzi Zwane was the Eswatini champion in 03:54:56 hours.
In 2017, the race was 120km long.

Meanwhile, the race has been moved from the hilly Mankayane to Croydon for the first time. The terrain is mainly flat. The competitors will race from Croydon from Madlangemphisi and cover places that include Tshaneni and Nyakatfo before returning to the starting point. The other event, which is the 65km race, follows an almost similar, but shorter route.
The winners will get a share from a E66 000 purse.

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