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Bikers show of mighty

Nine mountain biker teams on Monday battled out in the first stage of this year’s Mt Kenya Epik Challenge that began at the Naromoru River lodge in Nyeri County.

The first stage covering a gruesome 75 kilometres from the lodge to Mt Kenya Park Gate set the pace for the three-day event as two Kenyan teams and a German team look to dominate the race.

Team Kinja, an elite cycling team trained by renowned Kenyan cyclist, David Kinja, are favourites to win the challenge but face heavy competition from Team Nyeri, who finished first in the prologue stage on Sunday.

The Nyeri team finished the 20 kilometres preliminary race after 45 minutes and 48 seconds as Team Kinja came in close second after 48 minutes and 22 seconds.

Udo Miller representing the German team will be giving local riders a run for their money as they finished a minute and 22 seconds behind second-placed Kinja Team.

The battle will be tough for Team Kinja as they suffered a blow early in the race after one of their riders suffered a wrist injury in a crash a few kilometres from the starting line.
The second stage of the race will will begin at the park on Tuesday and the cyclists will cover 70 kilometers to Chaka riverside gardens.

The final leg of the challenge will be on Wednesday with the participants looking to cycle 105 kilometres through the Mount Kenya savannah to the end of the circuit at Naro Moru river lodge. Among the confirmed participants are two German citizens and a Swiss.

Riders Samuel Mwangi and Joseph Echwa, members of Kenyan Riders, san elite team of riders who aim to be the first African team to race in the Tour De France, emerged victorious over last year’s four-day event.

Naro Moru River Lodge General Manager, Edward Wangechi who spoke to the said that a great tussle was expected in this year’s race.
“The turnout is quite good and there are a number of newcomers so we expect good competition. At this stage it is hard to predict a winner although the local teams are giving quite a show of might,” said Mr Wangechi.


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