South African cyclists are off to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates  for the 6th edition of the Sharjah International Cycling Tour.

Ninenteen teams from different nations will participate in the tour.

Thokozani Mahlangu of Team Sampada, who won the King of the Mountains jersey in last week’s Mpumalanga Cycle Tour, has been rewarded with a call-up to represent South Africa at the event.

The Sampada Cycling Team is only three years old. It was formed with the aim of promoting cycling in previously disadvantaged communities.

As young as the team is, it is already making waves in the sport. Sampada participated in the annual Mpumalanga Cycle Tour for the first time in 2016.

A year later, Jan Montshioa won the King of the Mountains jersey in stage five of the event. In 2018, they took it one step further.

27-year-old Middelburg-born Mahlangu took the Polka-Dot jersey home as the overall winner in the King of the Mountain category.

For his feat, he will be representing the country in a tour in the United Arab Emirates.

“It shows that I’m working hard, hoping that in Dubai we are going to do more, like how we performed in the Mpumalanga Cycle Tour,” he said.

Mahlangu’s Sampada teammate, Montshioa, will also tag along to the tour of Dubai. He will be wearing national colours for the second time.

“For me, it’s quite good that I’m going with one of my teammates in the SA team, Thokozani. We got a lot of experience. Both of us, we are climbers. I was in Eritrea last year, in the SA team. This year again they chose me to be in the tour of Dubai.”

Sampada Team Manager, Bruce Malele says, “It’s a great achievement for the guys to be selected. It shows that last year they worked very hard. As a team, we are honoured to have two riders selected to the national team. It’s been very difficult the two years since we started the team, but I think the results are coming very fast than what we expected.”

The Sampada duo will be joined by Bardley Potgieter, Eddie van Heerden, Reynard Butler and Ryan Harris.

The tour in Dubai runs from the 24th to the 27th of January.