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Race Review: SiS Tour De Lunsar 2022

Returning once more after a thrilling 2021 edition, the Science in Sport Tour De Lunsar 2022 promised to serve up a fantastic four days of racing in Sierra Leone.

Following the same route as the previous edition, centred around the town of Lunsar (as well as a Grand Depart in Freetown). The event once again produced unpredictable racing, and three different stage winners. Each with a story to tell.

Stage One was a 118.5km route from Freetown to Lunsar, including a ceremonial start in the capital. This gruelling day saw a familiar face take the victory, with Osman T Kalokoh (known locally as OTK) outsprinting a formidable six-man breakaway to win in Lunsar.

Also in this break was Ibrahim S Jalloh, a teammate of OTK’s and a frightening opponent in his own right. Jalloh did not take the win on day one but would not be going anywhere in the battle for the overall victory.

Stage Two saw Jalloh prove his credentials in the general classification, with him powering to a solo victory on the longest stage of the race (128km).

This win served as a repeat of his triumph from 2021, and once again put Jalloh in the yellow leader’s jersey. For OTK though, history repeated itself in the worst way possible, with him once again being dropped, thus seeing the lead slip from his grasp on stage two. This left him out of contention in the overall standings.

Meanwhile, Tenesie Dixon of Flames Cycling Team sprinted to a podium spot on stage two, establishing himself as the main challenger to Jalloh going into the final day of race.

The final stage of this years race once again saw the riders take on 87km from Lunsar to Port Loko and back, including two laps of a finishing circuit in Lunsar.

After another tough day in the “Salone” heat, it was local hero Moses L Kamara that took the stage win after finishing second the day before.

Overall, it was a more cagey affair with the peloton sticking together for most of the day, this did not stop some riders attempting to break free. This included Linus Barun of Germany, who for a short while got clear of the bunch. Despite this move not proving to be fruitful, Barun was the first European rider to finish the Science in Sport Tour De Lunsar which in itself is historic for the race.

With Kamara taking a historic win for the people of Lunsar, this produced some stunning imagery of the hometown hero and his adoring fans celebrating in unison.

This result meant that Ibrahim S Jalloh did what he could not in 2021 and take the overall victory at the Science in Sport Tour De Lunsar, and with it the coveted yellow jersey.

Jalloh looked the strongest rider throughout the race, making it clear of his intentions from the very first flag drop, he is a truly deserving winner.

As always, alongside the men’s race there was the Science in Sport Tour De Lunsar women and junior races taking place. With both proving to be just as exciting as the Elite Men’s race.

In the women’s race defending champion Isata Mondeh was not present, meaning that the race opened up for a new winner of the blue jersey.

It looked for most of the day like this would be Elizabeth Mansaray, with the Lunsar Cycling rider storming away from the peloton early on. There was a strong chasing group behind her though, with twice runner-up Deborah Conteh looking strong.

In the end, Mansaray could not hold off the chasers with Conteh’s experience shining through. In a two-up sprint for the line Conteh powered to victory and with it her first blue jersey.

In the junior race, it also came down to two riders going head-to-head as defending champion Ibrahim Kamara battled Alhassan Marrah of Makeni Cycling Team.

Despite the best efforts of Marrah, it was Kamara that took home his second green jersey, reinforcing his claims to be included in the elite team for 2023.

The polka dot and white jersey’s also went to Ibrahim S Jalloh, whose domination of this years race is clear for all to see.

Once again, special thanks must go the people of Sierra Leone in particular in Lunsar itself for making the Science in Sport Tour De Lunsar what it is. Images of the riders and fans arm in arm, sharing success and failure is what this sport is all about, this is no different in Lunsar.

In a truly momentous week for African cycling, the Science in Sport Tour De Lunsar helped to show that this is only the beginning both at home and abroad. It can’t be long until we see the first “Salone” champion on the world stage.

Written By

Kimberley Bull - Brand Manager

Kim joined the SiS team in 2021 and has a long-standing passion for team sports. She started out as a broadcast assistant and match summariser at the BBC and has gone on to work with brands, teams and organisations to engage audiences in the world of sport. Outside of work, Kim is a supporter of digestive health charity, Guts UK, and will take on the London to Paris Bike Ride in July 2022 to raise funds.