By Fred Vubem Toh
They also won the fourth lap of the race yesterday thorough run within the city of Douala over a distance of 103km.
Morocco continues to dictate the pace at the ongoing 13th edition of the international cycling tour of Cameroon. They did not only win the fourth lap yesterday but also conserved the most coveted jersey of the competition, that is the yellow jersey of the race leader. After Er Rafai Mohamed Amine on the first day and Saadoune Abdelati on the second day, it was the turn of Makhchoun Mounir to emerge out of the blues to give Morocco their third lap victory in the competition.
He was closely followed by Mengis Ghereindrias Amanue, an Eritrean who runs for Bike Aid velo club of Germany in the second position and Kovac Maros of Slovakia in the third position. The first Cameroonian in the lap only appeared at the 10th position, in the person of Kamzong Abessolo
While the Moroccans relished their victory, Cameroonians gnashed their teeth as it was a bad day for Cameroon. One of the two Cameroonian hopefuls for final victory, Yemeli Herman 4th on the general classification after the third lap, threw in the towel after a mechanical breakdown. Also, Geremie Nzeke who was leading the race after the fourth round of the close circuit suffered four tyre punctures that made him to end up in the 29th position with some three minutes behind the lap winner.
The yellow jersey remains the property of Er Rafai Mohamed Amine Essaid as he still tops the general classification table. He is followed by fellow country man Mraouni Salaheddine in the second position. Mbah Herve Raoul comes third with two minutes and nine seconds behind the bearer of the yellow jersey and represents Cameroon’s best hope of winning the competition. Sikandji Ghislain in the 13th position and Tekou Damien in the 18th position are equally involved in the contention for the yellow jersey though with fewer chances as they are respectively three minutes 50 seconds and four minutes 48 seconds behind the race leader.
The race enters the fifth lap today to be run between Douala and Kumba. It will be characterised by rolling, ascending and descending. The real fitness test for the cyclists will be at the foot of Mount Fako from Tiko to the mile 17 junction in Buea before the descent to Kumba. Contrary to what was thought that Moroccans are not good climbers, the coach of the Moroccan team says he has three good climbers in the team.
This declaration has sent coal running down the spines of Cameroonians as they see the chances of winning the competition diminish by the day. The Douala-Kumba lap is going therefore to be crucial. Meanwhile the team from the Democratic Republic of Congo only arrived in the country yesterday due to flight problems and are therefore not going to be taking part in the competition. However, they have extended an invitation to Cameroon to take part in the Grand Prix D.R. Congo which they will be organising soon.
Source: All Africa