LOOP Gravel Safari Cycling Series: Schleck Soars As Team Amani Triumph In Tatu City

Participants in action in the first leg of the 2024 LOOP Gravel Safari Cycling Series held in Tatu City, Ruiru on Sunday. PHOTO/ JONAH ONYANGO

TATU CITY, Ruiru- Jordan Schleck from Uganda is the winner of the first leg of the 2024 LOOP Gravel Safari Cycling Series that attracted over 500 cyclists at Tatu City in Ruiru on Sunday.

The four-time Ugandan national champion clocked 4:03:27 to beat other 73 participants who took part in the grueling 120km elite category that traversed in and outside the upcoming expansive metropolitan.

Besides the individual gong, Schleck led his Team Amani squad, consisting of second placed Seth Hakizimana (4:04:15) and third placed Eric Muhosa (4:04:30), to the overall team victory which saw them pocket Sh250,000 for the feat.

Moses Muiruri (4:05:10) and Stanley Ngugi (4:11:52) of Team Black Mamba Development finished fourth and fifth in that order.

“The course was super challenging. It had amazing corners. My secret to victory was choosing the right lanes to use. I also pushed my teammates to the 70km mark where I knew they were safe before I broke away from the pack to the finish line,” Schleck, who pocketed Sh100,000 for the individual victory, told Standard Sports.

Jordan Schleck Ssekanwagi Winner 120KM of Loop Safari Gravel Series at Tatu City. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The victory has inspired the 21-year-old who already has his plot for the season well laid down. His plan is to take part in the Iten Road Race on March 10 then head to Uganda four days later for the Times Trials which will also act as qualifiers for the belated African Games.

After that, he will head down South Africa for the Absa Cape Epic series on March 27 before he travels to the US for the Life Time Gran Prix Series whose season begins in March and ends in October.

“It is unfortunate that I will not be available to defend my LOOP Gravel Safari Cycling Series title in Iten (March) and in other legs in Naivasha (June) and Vipingo (September),” underlined Schleck who alternates his training in Kiambu and Iten.

At the same time, Team Baiskeli Adventures dominated the hotly contested 60km category that attracted 158 participants. Raymond Muchiri (2:02:10,) and Tristan Byrne (2:17:41) finished first and second in that order to lift the team title as Niels Van Dorn (2:17:08) and Gerald Taylor (2:22:36.) ended the contest third and fourth respectively.

In the 20km category, Alvin Maina of the Team Joy Riders clocked 1:06:23 to emerge champion. He defeated fellow teammate Denis Njuguna who finished in 1:06:23 to claim the second position. Ally Manji took the third spot after clocking 1:06:41 while Amit Pandya finished fourth at 1:06:57. The category attracted 162 participants.

Participants in action in the first leg of the 2024 LOOP Gravel Safari Cycling Series held in Tatu City, Ruiru on Sunday. PHOTO/ JONAH ONYANGO

The event organized by Amani Project and supported by LOOP Digital Financial Services (DFS) aims to promote cycling as a sport and position the country as a top cycling destination.

“The inaugural event has been a great success today. I want to reiterate, the Gravel Cycling Safari series is not just a race; it is an amalgamation of talent, passion, and perseverance in the spirit of competition. Congratulations to the participants for taking on the challenge and the winners for their remarkable achievements. We are proud to be part of a competition that brings together the cycling community and promotes healthy living against the backdrop of increasing disease burden due to our sedentary lifestyles.” Loop DFS CEO Eric Muriuki stated.

Amani Foundation Director, Paddy Williams said; “This has been a great success, and we expect similar and exceptional talent to come to the fore in the subsequent leg of the Gravel cycling series in Iten. We are grateful to LOOP for the support, and we look forward to the upcoming competitions.”

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