Miller, Du Plessis retain national jerseys

Alex Miller crosses the finish line to win the Nedbank National XCO MTB Championships on Saturday. Photo: contributed

Alex Miller and Monique du Plessis retained their men and women’s national jerseys following dominant performances at the 2024 Nedbank Namibia XC0 National Cross-Country Championships, which took place at the IJG Trails in Kleine Kuppe on Saturday.

The event, organised by the Namibian Cycling Federation (NCF) in collaboration with Nedbank Namibia and various other sponsors, was attended by Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Dr. Emma Kantema-Gaomas, who officiated at the prize-giving ceremony.

On form, elite rider Miller clocked one hour, 30 minutes, and 59 seconds (01:30:59) ahead of returning cyclist Tristan de Lange, who followed more than eight minutes behind the defending national champion in a time of 01:39:12.

Third place was taken by Danzel De Koe, who finished the race at 01:42:19.

After the race, Miller said he was happy to defend his national title.

“It’s great to be able to defend this national title and wear the flag throughout the year. It was a windy day, but I knew my form was good, and I just had to ride my race at my own pace and play it safe. I did get a bit of a puncture, but I fixed it quickly,” he said.

Miller has won the national title three times already and will be heading for Spain before participating in the African Championships in Morocco.

In the elite women’s race, du Plessis clocked 01:22:19, ahead of second-placed Jaen-Marie Mostert, who finished in 01:32:48, and Mimi Hough, who was third in 01:20:36.

“It was hard from the start, and the wind didn’t make it easy. I tried to be safe and enjoy the ride. I went all out from the start, and I am happy to win this race having been down with an illness the whole of last week and struggling with an injury at the beginning of the season. This title means a lot to me,” Du Plessis said.

She said she is now looking forward to the rest of the season, which will see her joining the UCI African Development Team, which will help her prepare for the world championships.

In the junior women’s competition, Delsia Janse van Vuuren took first place, ahead of Kylie Dickerson and Angela Kamati in second and third place, respectively.

In the junior men, Roger Surén continued his fine form, winning the race ahead of Justus Beulker in second place and Prince Sibomana in third.

Nedbank Namibia’s communications and public relations manager, Selma Kaulinge congratulated the winners and reemphasized the bank’s commitment to the sport of cycling.  “Well done to our winners, we wish you all the best as you represent Namibia on the international stage. We are proud in the investment we put into cycling as Nedbank Namibia’s investment in the sport not only fuels the dreams of athletes but also strengthens the fabric of community and national pride,” she said. 

NCF President Axel Thiessen was happy with the day’s proceedings, saying they had a record number of entrants.

“This year also marked the second year of the E-Bikes and short course championships, which are slowly gaining interest. We also saw four Namibian former Olympic representatives (Mannie Heymans, Miller, Marc Bassingthwaighte, and de Lange) forming part of the race,” he said.

Thiessen said the cyclists had displayed top-class racing, paying tribute to the various sponsors for their continued support.

Two cyclists were involved in minor accidents, but their condition is reported to be stable and satisfactory.

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