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Steve Nazombe struggles to defend Illovo Classic

Experienced cyclist Steve Nazombe successfully defended Illovo Classic Cycling race title in Blantyre on Saturday, but he failed to match a record which he set last year.

Nazombe finished the 2015 edition of the 115km race in 3:15:09, thereby failing to match his last year’s record time of 2:59:59.

Last year, the race was upgraded from 80km to115km to meet international recommendations. The race stretched from Limbe to Nkando in Mulanje.

On Saturday, Missi Kathumba came second after clocking 3:12:27 while Leonard Tsoyo was third in 3:15:02. Blessings Kumwenda ended on fourth position in 3:18:52.

Nazombe, speaking after defending the title, said it was difficult to break last year’s record because of heavy winds.

“In most cases we face the winds in one way. Last year, the winds were strong on our way back. But this time we faced resistance on both ways. The winds were so strong and this slowed our progress,” he said.

Malawi Olympic Committee technical commissioner, Ken Dzekedzeke, also backed the cyclists despite their failure to match last year’s record.

“We escorted them throughout and the cyclists were terrific. Despite strong winds, they could have done much better,” he said.

Illovo Group Sugar national sales manager, Peter Mtokale, said they were impressed with the turn-up.

“We sponsor this race to recognise the role which bicycles play in our communities as far as sugar distribution is concerned,” he said.

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