The Kingdom of Morocco has won the Nationâ€™s classification in the UCI Africa Tour 2012-2013, as well as the individual ranking thanks to Adil Jelloul.Â He sets a record in this event which was created in 2005, winning the two trophies for the fourth year running.Â
Morocco, with 929 points, leads Eritrea (794,54 points) and Algeria (500,01 points).
As for Jelloul (223 points), he beat the Algerian Hitchem Chaabane (143,67 points) and his compatriot (137 points). Reda Aadel, ninth with 113 points, was the third Moroccan to be ranked in the top 10 in the individual classification.
"I welcome these new victories with a sense of joy, pride and responsibility", declared Mohamed Belmahi, President of the Royal Moroccan Cycling Federation. "These successes demonstrate that the plans put in place by our staff are bringing results and that cycling is a sport with real promise that has risen to the forefront of sporting activities in our country."
Decreed a priority sport in the lead up to the Olympic Games in London 2012, cycling has managed to maintain its position and benefits from a strong commitment from the local and national authorities. "Our events receive support from the involvement of the public, the local officials, the administration and private partners who all act like â€˜citizenâ€™ sponsors. This pooling of forces is made possible by the patronage of his Royal Highness the King of Morocco for our flagship events, along with the personal support of the Crown Prince."
Among these events, seven are listed on the calendar for the UCI Africa Tour, allowing the Moroccan riders to measure up against each other as well as crossing swords with the competition from overseas. The Federation usually lines up two national teams, one made up of seasoned riders, the other with new young talent.Â
Training is indeed one of the priorities in Morocco in the preparation for the next Olympic Games. Three training centres have been established in Casablanca, Rabat and Azrou, welcoming the best athletes in the Kingdom as well as from neighbouring countries.Â The most talented riders and the hardest workers have the possibility of pursuing their career development at the World Cycling Centres in Africa and Aigle, Switzerland.
To increase the pool of riders, the Federation hopes to forge a partnership with the Ministry of Education. Such a collaboration would mean a broader spectrum of the public could be reached, identifyingÂ potential champions early who would receive training and further education at a specialised cycling centre.
But Moroccan cycling is not just concentrating on the UCI Africa Tour and the Elite competitions. "Sport here is a human right guaranteed by the Constitution", explains Mohamed Belmahi. "The President pays particular attention to â€˜popularisingâ€™ sport, by "using numerous clubs to help develop cycling, from North to South, for both boys and girls".
The victory at the UCI Africa Tour 2012-2013 is therefore a reward for the hard work of the Royal Moroccan Cycling Federation and a stimulus for new projects. Future challenges include : the development of new disciplines such as track, BMX and Mountain Bike, along with the creation of a UCI Continental team (third division worldwide) so that the red and green jerseys can show their skills in professional events on other continents around the world.