19th February, 2012
The Technical Committee of the 2nd ECOWAS International Cycling Tour has disqualified nine cyclists out of the 66 who started the race in Lagos on 15 February, 2012.
The cyclists sent packing on Sunday, 19 February in Aboisso, Cote d’Ivoire, are: Maman Majgaji (Niger), Abu Kawa (Liberia), Kessely Suma (Liberia), Junior Johnson (Liberia), Quintino Napana (Guinea Bissau), Ca Morto (Guinea Bissau), Wilson Da Silver (Guinea Bissau), Alpha Doumbouya (Guinea) and Diarra Soulayman (Mali)
The committee explained in the competition’s bulletin that the nine were disqualified for failing to reach the finish line of the competition within an expected time.
One of the tournament’s directors, Nigeria’s Bashiru Mohammed, explained that if a cyclist failed to hit the finish line within 45 per cent of the cumulative posted by majority of the cyclists, such cyclist would be automatically disqualified
The disqualified cyclists consequently would not participate in the last leg of the race covering 112km from Aboisso to Abidjan.
Meanwhile, three Burkinabe’s are occupying the top three spots as the event enters the fourth stage.
The leader in the race, Rasmane Quedraogo, has so far amassed 77 points over the three stages- Lagos-Cotonou, Quidda-Lome and Adah-Accra.
The News Agency of the Nigeria (NAN) reports that Quedraogo finished in the lead in two stages of the race – Quidda-Lome and Ada-Accra.
He is closely followed by his teammate – Seydou Bamogo, who won the first stage (Lagos-Cotonou), and has 73 points.
The third position is occupied by Oumarou Minoungou with 63 points.
Nigeria’s Caleb Kalazibe with 24 points occupies the 12th position, while Qodiri Ajibade has 17 points and is placed 16th.
Another Nigerian cyclist, Emmanuel Eyo, has four points and occupies the 26th position.
However, Kalazibe has twice won the most aggressive cyclist in the competition.
The Nigerian cyclists blamed poor preparations for their poor showing at the event.
An Ivorian, Konte Basirou, is the only cyclist to have received a warning for riding dangerously in the course of the race from Quiddah to Lome.
The results showed that Francophone West African countries have dominated the race so far leaving the English-speaking countries to struggle to meet up.
Among the five English speaking countries – Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Liberia, only Nigeria and Ghana appear to be measuring up in the competition.
The two have made it into the top nine in the team classification.
Ghana is ranked fourth overall, while Nigeria is in the sixth position and Sierra Leone in the 9th.
The classification has Burkina Faso leading, followed by Cote d’ Ivoire in the second and Senegal in the third place.
Others in the top nine are: Mali occupying the 5th, Benin Republic in the 7th and Togo in the 8th position.
The four stage race commenced on 15 February in Lagos. It is being sponsored by ECOWAS, ostensibly to promote regional integration.