Cycling fever hits Windhoek

Drikus Coetzee in action at the 2023 Tour de Windhoek. File photo

Cycling fever hits Namibia this weekend when the seventh successive Tour de Windhoek takes place in and around the capital.

The five-stage race, which already started with a one mile prologue yesterday evening, has drawn a record number of teams and participants from Namibia as well as other Southern African countries like South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Zambia and even the Indian Ocean island, Reunion. 

A total of 63 cyclists representing 11 teams have entered the men’s category, which includes two South African teams – TEG Procycling and Team on Track. 

Teg Procycling which also competed last year, includes the experienced Brandon Downes who came third last year, while he represented South African at the Africa Games in Accra where he won a bronze medal in the individual time trial. He also won a silver medal in the team time trial in Ghana, and a bronze medal in the individual time trial at the South African National Championships in February. 

The Teg Procycling team includes some of South Africa’s most promising young cyclists like 19-year-old Emile van Niekerk who won the Montecasino Classico in February, and came third in both the Herald Cycle Tour in February and ‘Die Groot Trap’ last month. 

Other members include Blaine Klieck (19 years) who also represented South Africa at the Africa Games; Warren Moolman (20 years) who came fourth in the individual time trial at the SA Championships, and Jason Eggett (20 years) who won a silver medal in the individual time trial at the 2022 SA National Champs. 

A second South African team, Team on Track, is led by the experienced Warick Minkley and includes exciting youngsters like Matthew Symm (18 years), who came third in the junior men’s category at the SA National Champs road race; and Zane Salzwedel (17 years) and Rhys Burrell (18 years) who came fifth and seventh respectively in the same race.

Two Angolan teams have entered including their strongest professional team JT300, and G.D Interclub, as well as a team from Reunion, CCSL Blanchinet. 

Namibia’s onslaught will be led by the Hollard Men’s team, which includes last year’s individual champion Drikus Coetzee, the experienced Martin Freyer, Danzel de Koe and Clinton Hilfiker, and the upcoming Adrian Key and Jaques Hanekom. 

Other Namibian teams include Team Cymot Racing, with experienced riders like Christo Swartz and Murray Koch, and upcoming youngsters like JG van der Westhuizen and Theuns van der Westhuizen; Mannie’s Bike Mecca team, which includes top riders like Xavier Papo, Brandon Plaatjies and Daniel Hahn; and the NCCS Cymot Pro team which includes prominent riders like Ananias Ananias, Jojo Hamunyela and Marckernzy Eiseb. 

In the women’s category a total of 28 cyclists representing six teams will be in action. 

Namibia’s onslaught will be led by Team Hollard Ladies, which includes last year’s overall individual winner Melissa Hinz, and Anri Greeff, who came second.

The Pupkewitz Megabuild Ladies team includes experienced riders like Courtney Liebenberg and Michelle Doman; the MSL Ladies team includes the experienced Irene Steyn and Genevieve Weber; and the Cymot Ladies Racing Team includes top upcoming cyclists Olivia Shililifa and Monique du Plessis. 

A South African team, Customized Cycling Pirtek, as well as a team from Reunion, CCSL SoVeto, have also entered.

The first stage starts at the Teufelsschlucht Bridge on the Okahandja Road at 07h15 this morning, with the men covering 120km and the women 80km. 

Stage 2 consists of a 6km hill climb on the Kupferberg Road at 16h00 today, while Stage 3 consists of a 98km road race for men and 68km race for women on the Western Bypass, starting at 07h15 tomorrow. 

Stage 4 consists of a Criterium, starting at 16h30 at Pupkewitz Megabuild tomorrow, while Stage 5 consists of a road race on the Matchless Mine road over 77km for men and 57,5km for women, starting at 07h15 on Sunday. 

The total prize money for the event amounts to N$163 750, with the men’s competition receiving N$62 250, the women’s competition N$59 500 and the Tour de Windhoek Light, N$42 000. 

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