TOUGH TOUR DE MACHAKOS CONCLUDES: Kangangi and Akinyi crowned champions

By ERICK OCHIENG': Tuesday, October 25th 2016 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Sports
2016 Tour De Machakos winners Nancy Akinyi and Suleiman Kangangi. [PHOTOS: JOHN MUIA/STANDARD]

Commonwealth and All Africa Games representative Suleiman Kangangi and Africa Mountain Bike Championship representative Nancy Akinyi are the overall winners of the 2016 Tour De Machakos cycling contest.

Kangangi recorded 7:51.49 in all the four stages of the four day tedious competition to lift the men’s title for the first time.

Likewise, Akinyi, who won the competition in her debut in 2014, managed to retain the women’s crown this year after she ended the challenging stages in 10:16.32.

“I am really happy that I have made it through in my second attempt. I was second overall in my debut here last year and I had promised to work on some of the gray areas in my riding before I return to search for the title this season. Luckily all went as planned,” said Kangangi after the win.

Kangangi, who captains the prestigious Kenyan Riders team based in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County, explained he won the tough and challenging race through tact and complete team work. The winner retained the prestigious yellow jersey throughout the tour.

He finished second behind his fellow Kenyan Rider team mate Joseph Gichora in stage one which was a knock out lap race held on day one at the Machakos Peoples Park.

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He then won the hotly contested 50km stage two that stretched all the way from Machakos to Kathiani and back on the second day.

The third day saw him finish in second place behind another Kenyan Rider and veteran cyclist Samwel Mwangi in the 106km stage two that snaked from Machakos to Mbooni with finish line at Masii.

Kangangi clocked 2:45.65 to finish fourth in the 100km stage four that took the competition to Masii, through Kithimani and back to Machakos town on the fourth day.

The 27-year-old former boda boda rider said that he had to work on his mental strength and focus before he proceeded to try his luck again in the event he missed to win by a whisker last season when he finished second overall behind teammate Samuel Ekiru.

“I also attended several international races in Asia and Australia which shaped me ahead of this year’s competition,” Kangangi said.

“I want to thank our Kenyan Rider mentor Nicholas Leong for giving me an opportunity to realise my dream. If it was not for him, I could still be languishing in Lodwar doing my meagre boda boda business,” he said.

In order to make the race very lucrative, Kangangi urged the organisers to increase the prize money from the Sh1million won this year so as to attract more international riders.

The win has inspired Kangangi to try his luck at the forthcoming Tour De Rwanda slated for November 13-20 in Kigali where he is hopeful of improving on his 11th place finish in 2011.

“Ahead of Rwanda, I am going to work on tactics, speed, climbs, descends, diet and gym work. Right now my body is in shape and I believe I have come of age to win in Rwanda,” Kangangi said.

Akinyi, 21, who is a fourth year Bachelor of Science student in Microbiology at JKUAT was happy to reclaim the women’s title she won in her debut in 2014.