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The eighth edition of the Science In Sport Tour de Lunsar was held in Sierra Leone last week, highlighting the eclectic grassroots cycling scene of West Africa.
The race expanded to four days for elite men with sponsorship from Science in Sport and added one-day races for women and junior men.
The men’s race was dominated by the Nigerian Team Pitstop Lagos, with Preye John Dede winning three of the four stages, the overall, points and mountains classifications.
However, the result was only part of the story. The event also included one-day races for women and juniors. Roxanne Hargreaves (Lunsar Cycling Team) won the women’s race while Abdulrahman Koroma (Lunsar Cycling Team) led home the junior field.
Many of the riders in the junior race competed in donated kits from the British Cycling Team or USA Cycling. Some of the British kit came from Ethan and Leo Hayter. Some raced with mismatched clothing and poorly fit shoes, on cobbled together bikes with patched tubes and well-used chains.
Things that riders in developed countries take for granted like having a bidon in which to mix a sports drink were not widely available in Sierra Leone until SiS stepped in to provide pallets of nutrition products.
Riders are still learning how to properly hydrate and fuel, with agony showing on the faces of victims of cramps and heat exhaustion.
Still, the racers took to the course with spirit and gusto, with more than 70 juniors toeing the line. Koroma out-paced Mohamed Bangura (Kono Cycling 1) and Henry Koroma (Makeni Cycling) to take the gold medal.
The women’s field was…
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