WINDHOEK – Namibia’s internationally acclaimed veteran cyclist Dan Craven, showed no signs of slowing down.
The adorable bearded rider swept a strong field of cyclists aside to retain his crown during the 34th edition of the annual Nedbank Cycle Challenge in the capital yesterday.
A pleasing total of one thousand and fifty (1050) entrants set off in the gruelling road race grilling each other in their respective divisions.
All eyes were firmly fixed on the 100-kilometre elite road race. Leading a chasing pack, comprising some of the finest chain negotiators in the business, Craven was in an uncompromising mood.
The Omaruru born rider demonstrated that he still has a lot to offer the sport when he shook off some unwanted attention from his younger challengers to claim 1st place clocking 02-26:19. He was tailed by Nolan Hoffmann (02:26; 20) with Alex Miller (02:26:20) in a photo finish completing the podium spots in the men’s elite division.
Veteran rider Vera Adrian won the elite category for ladies in a time of 2 hrs 39.05 seconds just a friction of a second ahead of Michelle Vorster (02 53:39:15) and Genevieve Weber (03;09:40) in that order.
The popular road race attracted the who’s who in local cycling, shouldered by a sizeable number of fun riders amongst them; Namibia’s most successful football export Collin “Collymore” Benjamin, who cut his teeth in the highly competitive European powerhouse, German Bundesliga in an uninterrupted professional football career, spanning almost to a decade during his prime time.
The annual Nedbank Cycle Challenge Road Race is growing in leaps and bounds and is without a shadow of doubt the most-sought-after sporting gathering on the Namibian sporting calendar.
With no age limits, enthusiastic cyclists grilled each other in the 20, 30m, 60 and elite 100kilometer distances.
Craven, who took gold medal in the men’s 100km elite race last year, did it again as he crossed the finishing line in a time of 02-26:19. Craven, who has represented his native land on the international stage, said its always special competing in cycling races at home adding that he has seen interest in the sport soaring.
“Being able to race through the main street of our capital, with the roads blocked off and seeing hundreds of other Namibians enjoying themselves on bicycles is always an amazing feeling and I am very lucky to be a part of this community.
“Every year I come back to Namibia, I see more new faces at cycling events. In the past, I used to know most of the participants, however the sport is growing so much that it’s simply not possible anymore.”
The Nedbank Kidz Challenge takes place at the Waldorf School in Avis on Saturday, 23 February. This particular race has developed into an event in its own right with 200 youngsters expected to take part.
On Sunday, 24 February, the Nedbank MTB Challenge will also start at the Waldorf School, where adventure cyclists will hit the trails in a race testing technical agility, but also provide for a leisurely ride in the countryside in the shorter distances.
The Nedbank MTB Challenge will again serve to also host the national MTB marathon championships under the auspices of the Namibian Cycling Federation. The Nedbank Cycle Challenge is held in conjunction with the Namibia Health Plan and Coca-Cola and is proudly supported by the following institutions: Namibian Cycling Federation, Windhoek Pedal Power, Rock & Rut Mountain Bike, Today Group & Events Unlimited.