History of Zimbabwe Cycling
Due to its warm climate, cycling in Zimbabwe has always been a popular past time, supported by a thriving Road, BMX and MTB club circuit, Zimbabwe Cycling has over the years punched well above its weight in terms of its achievements internationally. Zimbabwe first gained prominence on the world stage when shortly after independence from colonial Britain sent a road and track team to the 1980 Summer Olympics held in Moscow. The team consisted of Michael McBeath, John Musa and David Gillow – (the latter’s daughter Shara Gillow now riding for FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope). Throughout the 1980s Graham Cockerton competed as a professional in South Africa riding in the well known Rapport Tour. In 1988 Zimbabwe again sent a squad consisting of Pierre Gouws and Gary Mandy to the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea.
In 1991, Gary Mandy turned from rider to team manager/coach and took Steve Draver, Kurt Begemann, Andrew Allen and Justin Marabini to the 5th, All Africa Games, in Cairo Egypt. The team won the bronze medal for the 100km Team Time Trial, in 2 hrs and 12 minutes, using standard road bikes with clip on aero bars and disc wheels. This same year, the federation funded a Junior Team to the World Junior Cycling Championships in Colorado, USA. This team comprised Alan Harrison, Timothy Jones, Jason Whitehead and Gary Ohara.
After their success in Egypt, Zimbabwe fielded many National Teams to races such as The Tour Of Mauritius and South Africa’s Giro del Capo. These teams gave birth to Zimbabwe’s first European Pro Timothy Jones (cyclist) who competed for Zimbabwe at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta USA. Tim Jones won the Giro del Capo in 1998.
In 2005 former World Champion Belgian Roger De Vlaeminck sent a scouting team to the country with a view to creating Zimbabwe’s first ever Cyclocross team, a team was selected which raced in the Under 23 World Cyclocross championships held in St Wendel Germany with this being covered by VTM (TV channel) in their popular cycling reality television show Allez Allez.
2006 saw Linda Davidson win bronze in the time trial at the African Road Championships held in Port Louis, Mauritius
2007 saw Zimbabwe further make history when they sent a 9 member squad to the very first African Mountain Bike Championships that were held in Windhoek Namibia . Zimbabwe fared well with Margie Gibson attaining Gold in the Veteran Ladies Cross Country and Trevor Volker Bronze in the Sub Vets Cross Country races. Antipas Kwari by finishing 8th in the Pro Elite Race ensured his qualification for the 2008 Olympic Games- a race in which he finished 48th in the men’s cross country.
More recently Zimbabwe has been represented internationally by Skye Davidson who raced at the 2019 UCI Elite World Championships which were held in Yorkshire, England.