Ugandan cyclist Jordan Schlek Sunday won the individual professional category of Grand Nairobi Bike race that brought together 400 participants.
For his exploits, Schlek took home Sh70,000 in prize money. The race, which started and ended at Uhuru Gardens along Lang'ata Road in Nairobi, covered 55 kilometres. Schlek was followed by Kenyans Geoffrey Lang'at and Niels Vander-Pilj who finished second and third to take home Sh50,000 and Sh30,000 in prize money respectively.
“We had a great time preparing for this challenge and despite the rain threatening to ruin our plans, I’m glad the roads were still suitable for the competition and the large number of enthusiasts also gave us motivation throughout the race. We hope to get better with every race and get to compete internationally,” said Schlek.
Joyce Nyari won the women’s race, followed by Nancy Akinyi and Mercy Fewende. For their effort, the top three finishers were awarded Sh70,000, Sh50,000 and Sh30,000 respectively.
In the teams category, Velo Nos ALP company and African Logistic Properties company took first and second place while the Black Mamba team came in third. Black Mamba male winner James Ndung'u who won the race for the first time said it was great exposure to compete with professionals from all over the country and getting knowledge on how to conserve forests at an individual level.
The total prize fund in the race was Sh500,000. Sh300,000 of this was shared out among individual competitors, with Sh200,000 going to winning teams.
The first race was a family fun race with the professional and amateur cyclists having their families participate in a fun 11km one lap race with the starting and finishing line being at the Uhuru Gardens entrance. Participants in the professional race covered the 11km course five times, while those competing on Black Mamba bicycles covered a 22km course twice. The race was aimed at raising funds to improve forest cover in the country.
The next event in the series dubbed ‘Tour to Machakos’ will be held from December 12 to 15.
The race was organised by race timing solutions provider Exigent Limited. Nick Lancford from Exigent Limited said they chose cycling to spread the message of environmental conservation because it is one of the fastest growing sport in the country.