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NKONYENI – After enduring the climbs of Nkonyeni Golf Estate, seasoned cyclist Sihawu Dlamini, emerged as the winner of the Inyatsi G2G MTB Classic.

After taking the lead for the first 20km, it was not an easy ride for Dlamini as MTN Khemani’s Lungelo Mlangeni and Newcom Wheels’ Kwanele Jele caught up with the eventually winner. Legendary cyclist William Kelly also brought his A-game to make the race more interesting as they were at some point tied. However, after increasing speed, Dlamini managed to outclass the chasing pack and cruised to the finish line uncontested. He crossed the finish line in 03.30.57 hours. “I’m happy to win this race after I failed to do well in the Nedbank Imvelo Classic. It was a good race but I got lost at some point,” said Dlamini. Notably, there were no ladies in the 65km category, as most of them decided to take part in the 35km.
Meanwhile, there was drama surrounding the second spot of the main race.


After Sihawu Dlamini won the 65km event, he was followed by William Kelly who clocked 03:31:11 hours (before he was disqualified). He was immediately followed by Lungelo Mlangeni on 3:32:31 hours and Kwanele Jele was next on 03:44:43 hours. At first it was not clear who attained the second position among the trio. Jele and Mlangeni contested that Kelly took a shortcut and was therefore not supposed to win the silver medal. However, Kelly insisted that they all got lost during the race, saying due to the markings, it was not clear which route to take. “I do not know if I took the right route or not; all I know is that there was lot of confusion along the route as it was not clearly marked,” said Kelly.

He said he was disturbed by what the other three riders were insinuating. “I could have taken the wrong route, but I’m not to be blamed for that. I was following the markings as they were and another thing, the markings were far apart and it was possible to get lost. The trio might have got lost. All I know is I was following their path,” he said. However, Mlangeni said there was no way Kelly could have come second. “We dropped him (Kelly) when we were doing the loop and he was nowhere near us. I was surprised to see him in front of me on the finish line,” said Mlangeni.

Sihawu Dlamini  also sided with Mlangeni. The tension as they argued at the finish line was so tense, such that it attracted the organisers and president of the Eswatini Cycling Association (ECA) Sifiso ‘Zwide’ Ndwandwe, who joined the debate and asked them to calm down. One of the organisers also joined in and assured the cyclists that they would verify at the end of the race. Indeed the confusion was clarified during the presentation, as Kelly was not among the top three. The win went to Sihawu and Mlangeni was second after clocking 3:32:31 hours with Jele coming third on 3:44:43 hours.

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