Cyclists excel in the Cape 

Delsia Janse van Vuuren (second from left) came second in the Junior Women’s category. Photo: contributed

Namibian cyclists excelled at the second leg of the Western Cape MTB XCO series in Paarl over the weekend, gaining several podium places against a top field of international MTB riders.

A Namibian team of 11 cyclists travelled to the Cape to compete and according to national cycling coach Hans du Toit they fared very well. 

“It was the second race of the Western Cape Cup series, which was also a UCI accredited race. All the top riders from South Africa were there as well as some other top international riders so the competition was extremely tough. We sent a team of 11 Namibian riders down and I think they did very well,” he said.  

South Africa’s top MTB riders were in action as well as top elite male and female riders Simon Andreassen of Denmark and Mona Mitterwallner of Austria.

In the Elite Men’s category, Andreassen, who won a bronze medal at the 2022 UCI MTB Marathon World Championships, beat South Africa’s top MTB rider Alan Hatherly in a sprint to the line to finish the seven-lap course in one hour 25 minutes 14 seconds.

Hatherly, who was the u23 cross country world champion in 2018, followed a second behind, while Namibia’s Alex Miller finished third more than a minute behind in 1:26:31, to win the bronze medal.

Former junior rider, Kevin Lowe, competed in the senior elite category for the first time and finished 13th overall in 1:33:06, while another Namibian rider Theuns van der Westhuizen was pulled off after six laps in 1:26:46 to finish 22nd overall.

“Alex is preparing for the Cape Epic and is focussing on longer distances, so we are very happy with his performance,” Du Toit said. 

“Kevin also did very well, considering that its his first year not racing as a junior. He only turned 19 in January, but they did not have an u23 category, so to come 13th in that senior elite field is very good,” he said. 

In the junior men’s category Roger Suren won the silver medal after coming second behind South Africa’s Omar Wilson, who won the five-lap race in 1:06:45, followed by Suren in 1:08:45 and South Africa’s Jaco van Zyl in 1:10:42.

“Roger is riding in the junior category for the first time where he came up against Omar Wilson who did very well at the junior world championships last year. Since he wasn’t seeded for the race he had to start towards the back of the field in 25th place so he had to spend alot of energy to work his way up the field and getting a silver medal in those circumstances is commendable,” Du Toit said.

Namibia also got a podium place in the junior women’s category where Delsia Janse van Vuuren won the silver medal. South Africa’s Jodi Mackinnon won the four-lap race in a time of 1:08:50, while Janse van Vuuren came second 1:11:03.

In the Youth Men’s category over four laps, Marco Thiel won a bronze medal in 54:07, with South Africa’s Neil van der Vyver taking gold in 52:57 and another South African, Benjamin Fourie, silver in 53:52. 

Three more Namibians competed in the youth category, with Sean Lowe coming fifth in 55:49, Christiaan van der Westhuizen 11th in 1:00:51 and Franco Thiel 19th in 1:07:50. 

In the Youth Women’s category over three laps, Namibia’s Rose-Marie Thiel won the silver medal in 53:54, with South Africa’s Nadia van Wyk winning gold in 47:02. 

Du Toit also got amongst the medals as he won silver in the Master’s Men’s category, finishing the three-lap race in 1:05:22, with South Africa’s Franso Steyn winning gold in 1:03:27. 

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