Leonard Tsoyo made life on the saddle difficult for over 380 contestants to emerge his groupâ€™s winner at the 94.7-kilometre Johannesburg Cycling Race in South Africa on Sunday.
Tsoyo, who made it to the international event after finishing third during last yearâ€™s Illovo Classic Cycling Race, crossed the finish line in 2:43:11 hours to top Group MM. His compatriot, Martin Mtawali, finished sixth in the 480-member Group S after clocking 2:57:51 hours.
â€œI am very excited at my success today. I did not expect this,â€ said Tsoyo in a telephone interview from South Africa on Monday.
Overall, Tsoyo finished the event that attracted 19 241 cyclists on position 753 whereas Mtawali was number 1 980.
Tsoyo, who cycled at an average speed of 34.8 kilometres per hour, completed the race 13 minutes behind Hewan Mike, winner of Group A, which is considered the toughest group.
According to Blantyre Cycling Club coach Dyton Chimwaza, cyclists are located in various groups at the international event in accordance with the strength of their finish time at their recent local competitions
â€œDue to his success at the South African event, Tsoyo will probably be put in the toughest group if he makes it to next yearâ€™s event. This is the first time a local cyclist has become a group winner at international race. We are proud of him,â€ said Chimwaza.
Tsoyo is also expected to contest at the 110-kilometre Cape Argus Cycle Tour in South Africa next March alongside Missi Kathumba. They booked their tickets to the tour following their success during the 2012 Illovo Classic Race where they finished as runner-up and champion respectively.