Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - No fewer than 250 cyclists from the 15-member nations of ECOWAS will take part in the second ECOWAS International Cycling Tour which will flag off on 15 February from Lagos, Nigeria.
A statement from ECOWAS, received by PANA here, said the event would take place from 15 to 19 February with competitors criss crossing five countries -- Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
The race, which would cover a total distance of 450 kilometres, will terminate at Abidjan, the Ivorian capital, on 19 February.
According to the statement, the international event will be in four stages -- Lagos-Cotonou; Cotonou-Lome; Ada-Accra and Abuaso-Abidjan -- and prize-monies and trophies will be awarded to winners at the various stages of the race.
The overall tour winner, the team standing, the fastest cyclist and the best young cyclist will be rewarded.
The statement added that there would be three motorised transfers in the course of the race, indicating that each of the 15-member nations would be expected to field a team of six cyclists and five officials.
The statement quoted Mr. Francis Njoguani, the Director of ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre, as saying that this year's tour followed the maiden edition held in 2009 over the Lagos to Accra route.
It said the international cycling tour was initiated by the ECOWAS heads of state to further the ECOWAS ideals of regional integration and free movement of persons as a tool to actualise the ECOWAS vision 2020 of transforming from an ‘ECOWAS of states to an ECOWAS of people’.
This year's tour is financed by the ECOWAS commission.
The statement said, however, that member states had been mandated to source sponsors for the leg of the race which passes through their respective countries.
-0- PANA TON/VAO 6Feb2012