100 cyclists from Ghana and other West African countries will compete this Sunday in the maiden edition of the cycling calendar’s highly anticipated race featuring Ghana’s most beautiful and incredibly hard medium mountain climb, Apirede, as part of the 100km route.
Apirede is a second-category climb covering 8km with the steepest section touching 20% gradient. The climb starts at 50km immediately after the riders turn off the main Somanya road to crossover to the Akuapim ridge.
The race will start from Adenta with the first 20km on an undulating road. There will be a lot of tension from the start as riders fight to get into the break to get a head start. Here riders would have to be careful with early breakaway and if a break forms there is a good chance for the escapees to open up a significant gap on the peloton. The strong teams in the peloton such as River Park, Team sky, Gladiators and TBTCycling would have to take charge of the race to control and reel in the early escapees before the climb.
The next 20km from Ayikumah to Somanya is a very flat and fast and we would expect the peloton to be averaging about 40km/h. The favourites would have to shield themselves from the wind under the protection of their team. Those that fail to shield themselves from the wind will use up a lot of energy and will fade away when they hit the dreaded Apirede climb.
The route turns west from Somanya to Apirede to begin the 8km climb that will drastically whittle down the size of the peloton and shape the race. The first 2km of the climb is a gradual gradient and averages 4% gradient after which there is a small downhill section of about 500m. The road kicks up sharply again for the next 2km with average gradient of 11% with the steepest section touching 20%. The riders that have managed to stay with the lead group will begin to feel the pain from the pure climbers. The pure climbers will spring into action and will begin dancing off their bikes as they make their way to the top. There is no hiding for the riders here and any rider not in top form will be exposed and dropped immediately. This will be a pulsating pound for pound action on the climb with punches being thrown and riders putting in sudden acceleration to crack their competition. Any rider who cracks on the climb will lose time and there will be no coming back. At the top of this section, there is a bit of reprieve for the cyclists with about 300m downhill section and the final section of the climb is 1.2km with an average gradient of 7%
Undoubtedly at the top of the climb there shouldn’t be any peloton and the race favourites with a teammate will have to count themselves extremely lucky and in a privileged position.
On reaching the Apirede Township, the riders will weave their way through Adukrom, Abiriw, and Akropong to make their way to Mamfe. Those that have used up too much energy on the climb can begin to lose steam and those from behind will begin to close in on them. From Mamfe it would be 27km to finish. The riders will face three small inclines while they make their way to Aburi. The riders will reach Peduase lodge with 10km to go and will descend Aburi hill with 6km remaining and a straight fast finish to Adenta.
We would expect the winner to average 36-37km/h to finish the race in just under 3 hours. For the recreational cyclists we would expect them to finish the ride in 5 hours.
The Ghanaian racing circuit is dominated by veteran pro riders who feel their experience trumps the raw talents of upcoming young riders and this sets the tone for aggressive racing this Sunday. Be it the experienced riders looking to reassert themselves over the peloton that they still got what it takes to win races or rookies and young riders looking at making a name for themselves paints an explosive mix that makes for great racing. The top three favourites for the race are;
Abdul Rahman, 27yrs, Quickstep Cycling Club, is an experienced rider on the Ghanaian racing circuit having won several races in the past. Also a national cyclist having represented Ghana in some international races in Africa. He recently came second at the Tour du Ghana race held in April.
Isaac Sackey, 31yrs, Team Sky, very experienced and on his best day is unbeatable. He is a consistent performer finishing on the podium in many races that he participated.
Alexander Allotey, 19yrs, TBT Cycling Club. Unlike his experienced competition, Alex started cycling only 2years ago and has already won 3 races, his most recent being the Tour du Ghana road race back in April. He has the physique of a pure climber and also boast of one of the strongest teams in the peloton.
Ghana Police will provide police personnel and dispatch riders for the safety of the cyclists and other road users. Another 100 volunteers will be positioned along the route providing cyclists with direction. In addition Enterprise Insurance Company Limited has partnered with TBT Cycling Club to provide Group Personal Accident insurance to the tune of GHS500,000 covering the event, cyclists, volunteers and race organizers.
Granfondo Ghana race is proudly sponsored by Sykes and Partners Ltd and supported by Safety Insurance Brokers, Enterprise Insurance, Legon Botanical Gardens, PharmaGeorge Chemist, DHL Global Forwarding, Urban box, Burgandy Homes, VPL Concrete Ltd, Preyman Clothing and Trans Global Logistics Ltd.
Information on registration and other details is available at www.tbtcyclingclub.com