WINDHOEK – It’s once again that time of the year when the country’s leading cyclists descend on Namibia’s commercial capital Windhoek, to grill each other on two wheels.
The 34th edition of the popular annual Nedbank Cycle Challenge was launched amidst much hype in Windhoek yesterday. The annual gathering is without a shadow of doubt the largest participatory cycling race on the Namibian sporting calendar with over 1 000 cyclists expected to line up in the iconic road race this year.
Speaking at the launch, a delighted Nedbank Namibia Chief Financial Officer, JG van Graan, outlined the legacy of the road race.
“The Nedbank Cycle Challenge has proven its staying power for over three decades, and with its 34th edition this year, it has truly earned its moniker as the ‘Greatest Ride Under The Sun’.”
As with previous years, the race comprises three events taking place next month, starting with Road Challenge slated for Sunday, February 10, starting in front of the Nedbank Branch on Independence Avenue. During this particular race, cyclists will wind their way through the City of Windhoek and its surroundings covering distances of 20km, 30km, 60km and 100km for elite cyclists.
The Kidz Challenge takes place at the Waldorf School in Avis on Saturday, February 23 and the following day, Sunday, February 24 the Mountain Bike Challenge gets underway at the Waldorf School, where adventure cyclists will hit the trails in a race testing not only technical agility but speed and racing prowess.
“From our vantage point, the quality of Namibian cycling in all of its facets is being recognised from both a continental and global perspective evidenced by virtue of the UCI-sanctioned races that our country has been hosting, culminating in the African Continental Mountain Bike Championships that will be hosted right in our backyard, as it were, in April. Nedbank Namibia pride ourselves in having played an integral role in all of this,” Van Graan added.
The Corporate Marketing and Communications Division of Nedbank Namibia believes that an unprecedented year awaits Namibian cycling.
“This is the culmination of a number of factors, including sheer sacrifices for advancing the cause of cycling by all stakeholders in our country, but undoubtedly underpinned by the enthusiasm with which the cycling community has embraced the sport. “Nedbank Namibia has a history steeped in cycling, and as we ended 2018 with the iconic Nedbank Desert Dash, we have started 2019 with the Nedbank/Windhoek Pedal Power race series,” reads a statement from the principal sponsor.
This serves as a preamble to the Nedbank Cycle Challenge, Namibia’s finest supported cycling event, which consistently draws the biggest number of participants of all races hosted locally.
“Given our enduring relationship with cycling, we have taken great pride in just how much the sport has developed and grown.
“From our vantage point, the quality of Namibian cycling in all of its facets is being recognised from both a continental and global perspective and is evidenced by virtue of the UCI-sanctioned races that our country has been hosting, culminating in the African Continental Mountainbike Championships that will be hosted right in our backyard, as it were, in April.
Nedbank Namibia pride ourselves in having played an integral role in all of this. “Competitive cycling, and consistently testing our mettle against some of the best cyclists in the world, is the catalyst for even greater achievements on the global cycling stage. The talent displayed by our youthful cyclists, and the mentoring role we see from our more experienced competitors, is a sight to behold and augurs well for the competitive spirit that embodies our nation.”
This year also sees riders vying for the second edition of the added prestigious Raul Costa Floating Trophy, going to best attacker during the main race. Martin Freyer is the defending champion.