This year’s International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctioned African Cycling Championship that involves various African countries would be held in the Red Sea state of Eritrea from November 8 – 13, 2011.
Eritrea got the opportunity to host this prestigious continental race after it stood on top of the continent’s best cycling talents by consolidating its dominant position both in the African Intercontinental road Cycling Championship and Tour of Rwanda competitions last year.
In both events, the country crowned winner of the “Tour of Rwanda” and “African 2010 Champion” in addition to winning eight out of the ten gold medals, one silver and one bronze.
Eritrea will be hosting this year’s African Championships for the first time since the major reform of road cycling in 2005.
Last year, the UCI delegate to Africa and director of UCI Continental Center in South Africa, Jean-Pierre Van Zyl, has been in Eritrea to observe and approve the new course on the occasion of the national ‘Tour of Eritrea‘ championships.
Thus far, African giants like South Africa, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt have confirmed to send their talent troops for the big tournament along with Tanzania and Ethiopia.
This week, the secretary general of the Tanzanian Cycling Association (TCA), Mr. Lado Haule, has informed local media that his country would field six of Tanzania’s best cyclists for the championship who are currently in Kigali for two week training before flying to Asmara.
Cycling analysts Pierre Carry emphasized that the 2011 African Championship race in Eritrea will be particularly important for women riders as it will serve as qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics.
It was expected that Algeria, Morocco and Egypt will filed riders who have the experience of previous participations in the Tour of Eritrea tournaments to simply counter the Eritreans striking climber advantage thanks to the number of hilly roads in the country like the one that extends from the Red Sea coast to the capital Asmara, which is at an altitude of 2,325 metres.
Rwanda, who is preparing itself for the third edition of its own Tour of Rwanda competition from November 20 – 27 of this year, hasn’t confirmed its participation in the African Championship race in Eritrea.
This year, Eritrea too won’t participate in the Tour of Rwanda competition probably because of the close scheduling of the two tournaments in their respective countries.