Dan Craven in good showing at Gabon international race
DAN Craven finished seventh overall in the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo cycling race which finished in Gabon on Saturday.
Anthony Charteau of Team Europcar from France won the six-stage race in a combined time of 19 hours and 5 seconds, with Andy Cappelle of the German Quickstep Cycling Team finishing four seconds behind in second place.
Adil Jelloul of the Moroccan national team was the first African cyclist, finishing third overall, 7 seconds behind the winner.
The race took place over six days, from January 25 to January 30, covering a total of 764 km in northern Gabon, with one stage taking place in neighbouring Cameroon.
Professional European teams like Team Europcar and FDJ from France, and Quickstep Cycling Team from Germany, as well as several African national teams from countries like Eritrea, Rwanda, Morocco and Cameroon participated in the race, while top South African pro team MTN also participated.
Another Namibian cyclist, Lotto Petrus, who also participated in the race, riding for the South African MTN team, finished 43rd overall out of a total of 73 cyclists who completed the race.
Craven, who represented the Centre Continental UCI African team along with cyclists from Zambia and Ethiopia, got off to a good start, finishing fifth overall on the first stage on January 25, two seconds behind the early leader Geoffrey Soupe of Team FDJ.
The following day Craven finished amongst the leaders and although he dropped down to 30th on Stage 3, he was still lying fourth overall in the General Classification, only 10 seconds behind Soupe.
The 133km-fourth stage however saw a radical shake-up of the leaderboard, as Daniel Teklehaymanot of Eritrea led a breakaway group of six cyclists, who built up a gap of more than five minutes over the rest of the field.
Teklehaymanot beat Reinardt Janse van Rensburg of Team MTN in a sprint to the line, with Adil Jelloul from Morocco finishing third, 24 seconds behind. Craven however finished 21st overall, 5:36 behind Teklehaymanot, to drop down to eighth overall, 5:24 behind the new leader, Anthony Charteau of Team Europcar.
Craven dropped down to ninth overall after he finished in the leading pack on Stage 5, and when he finished fourth on the sixth and final stage, he climbed two places to seventh place overall in the final General Classification.