Classy Miller cruises to victory 

Alex Miller in action. Photo: Helge Schütz

Alex Miller showed his class when he comfortably won the Nedbank XCI UCI C1 MTB race at the IJG Trails on Farm Windhoek on Saturday.

With international ranking points up for grabs numerous riders from South Africa and even Zimbabwe and Lesotho showed up for the event, but Miller was in a class of his own as he won the Elite Men’s race by more than a minute and a half.

Miller completed the race over seven laps in 1:28:08, with compatriot Kevin Lowe coming second in 1:29:41, while the first South African home was third-placed Michael Foster in 1:30:50. 

They were followed by two more South Africans – Massimiliano Ambrosi (1:31:13) and Ernie Roets (1:33:30), while Namibia’s Martin Freyer came sixth in 1:33:38. 

Miller said he was pleased with his race. 

“It’s always a hard race over here, I enjoy the track a lot and it’s nice to see all the people come out to support us and a big thanks to Nedbank and all the organisers for coming out here on a Saturday morning and putting together an event like this. It feels good to get some UCI points again so I’m happy about that,” he said. 

“The points are for the ranking system so the more points you get the higher up you get to start at cross country world cups and international events – I think I got 60 points so it’s a good haul for today,” he added. 

“Hopefully next weekend I can defend the national jersey and then I’m off to Spain and then the African Championships in Morocco,” he said. 

The Junior Men’s race over five laps was a thriller as Namibia’s Roger Suren and South Africa’s top junior rider Omar Wilson provided a great duel for the fans who cheered them on throughout the race. They raced neck-and-neck from the start, but going into the final sprint Suren had built up a slight lead which he held till the end to win the race in 1:04:54, with Wilson following two seconds behind, while South Africa’s Samuel Cleary came third in 1:07:37. 

Suren said his race didn’t go as planned. 

“It didnt go totally as planned – the plan was to keep the pressure up for the first two laps, and then try to get a gap on the third lap and stretch it on the fourth and fifth laps. But I started getting stomach cramps from the third lap so I was fighting against my stomach as well, but at the end I got it on the sprint so that was nice and the track was really fast so I really enjoyed it,” he said. 

He said beating Wilson was a special achievement.

“It means everything to me because he’s one year older than me, so he’s being racing as a junior from last year and I’m only first year as a junior now, so to beat a second year junior, you can’t get better than that,” he said. 

“Next month I’m going to the African Champs in Morocco, then I’ll get a few trips to Europe, one just for racing to get some points, and then for the world champs later this year,” he added. 

South Africa’s Lilian Baber dominated the elite women’s race over five laps, completing the five-lap event in 1:20:30, to finish close to seven minutes ahead of Stacey Hislop of Zimbabwe (1:27:15) while Namibia’s Jean-Marie Mostert came third in 1:28:58. 

Namibia’s Delsia Janse van Vuuren gave a fine performance to win the junior women’s race by more than a minute. She won the four-lap race in 1:04:41, followed by Carla Jansen van Vuuren of South Africa (1:06:17), while another South African, Errin Mackridge came third in 1:08:14. 

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