More than 900 riders have signed up for the 18th edition of one of the world’s most gruelling cycling events – the Nedbank Desert Dash – to commence in Windhoek on 9 December and the following day in Swakopmund.
The Nedbank Desert Dash is the longest single-stage mountain bike race in the world, where cyclists are given 24 hours to complete the 393km race through the Khomas Hochland Mountains and the Namib Desert to the coastal town.
Speaking at the launch yesterday, Nedbank Namibia’s chief financial officer JG van Graan said this year’s event will be one of their biggest yet. “Last year, we were battling to overcome the challenges of organising sports events during the pandemic – and by divine grace, we are once again launching this epic event without any restrictions or measures to be concerned about – that is something truly to be grateful for and celebrate,” he said.
Van Graan added last year’s event drew many international participants, which is good for the growth of the country’s economy.
“The Nedbank Desert Dash has become so much more than a sporting event, as its benefits go far beyond cycling. The race holds great economic benefits for local business in Windhoek as well in the Erongo region,” he noted.
This year, cyclists from 17 different countries will take part in this year’s Nedbank Desert Dash, namely Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, USA, Germany, Canada, Germany, Zimbabwe, UK – Britain, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Botswana, Malawi, DR Congo, France and Austria.
Swakopmund mayor Dina Namubes, via a live stream from her office at the coastal town, said the event will be of great benefit to the town, as they fully rely on tourism.
She added the competition will expose a lot of visitors to the beauty of the town.
“We are looking forward to welcoming every participant to our town and witnessing high-quality races,” she said.
The Nedbank Desert Dash is co-sponsored by Indongo Toyota, SuperSpar (Maerua and The Grove) and Hollard.
On his part, Willie Verdoes, the general manager at Indongo Toyota, said they are proud to be partners of this prestigious event.
He expects the event to be exciting and wished all the participants all the best.
“I have competed in this event before, and I can tell you now that this will not be an easy ride; there would be riders who will make it and some who will not make it to the finishing line. We, however, anticipate it to be a good race, and we wish all of the participants a pleasant ride,” said Verdoes.
Irene Steyn won the women’s solo race in a time of 19 hours, 25 minutes and 43 seconds.
Tristan de Lange won the solo men’s race in 14:55:30.