Seven cyclists have been awarded national colours following the Nedbank Namibia National Cycling Championships over the weekend.
Amongst the elite athletes, Alex Miller, Drikus Coetzee and Vera Looser received national colours, while the u23 cyclists Kevin Lowe and Monique du Plessis also received national colours, along with u18 junior cyclists Roger Suren and Delsia Janse van Vuuren.
The national jerseys will enable the cyclists to represent Namibia at international road race events, while the national championships also served as an important qualification event for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
On Sunday, Miller beat Drikus Coetzee in a sprint to the line to win the Men’s Elite road race over 122km in three hours and five minutes (03:05:00), with Coetzee following just behind in the same time, while Martin Freyer followed in third place in 03:05:45.
Xavier Papo came fourth in 3:08:14, while the rest of the pack followed more than 10 minutes behind, with Brandon Plaatjies coming fifth in 3:18:09.
Kevin Lowe won the Men’s u23 category and came fourth overall in 3:05:57, while Daniel Hahn came second and fifth overall in 3:07:12, and Adrian Key third and sixth overall in 3:08:01. Another u23 rider who gave a good performance was Theuns van der Westhuizen who came fourth and seventh overall in 3:08:03.
Miller said that his race tactics paid off.
“It was great cycling.
The race course had tough climbs like Mamba Mountain, but my strategy of climbing hard paid off,” he said. Coetzee, meanwhile, congratulated Miller, but added that his sprinting was improving.
“Sprinting is not my forté. I am an endurance rider, but I am happy that I pushed Alex to the limit. Finishing so close to him makes me happy, as I know that I am getting better with my sprints,” he said.
Looser was a comfortable winner of the Women’s Elite race, completing the 92km event in a time of 2:41:17, with Melissa Hinz following nearly two minutes behind in 2:43:07, while Anri Greeff came third in 2:45:38.
Monique du Plessis won the Women’s u23 category in 2:50:51, with Olivia Shililifa coming second in 3:07:43.
After the race, Looser said the hill climbs were her strong point.
“I was strong on the climbs. The weather was cool at the beginning, but became warmer as we raced. I am happy to have won today, as this is one of the races that is used to select cyclists for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games,” she said.
On Friday, Drikus Coetzee comfortably won the Individual Time Trial Men’s Elite category over 36km in 50 minutes 15 seconds, with Ingram Cuff coming second nearly five minutes behind in 55:09.
Kevin Lowe won the Men’s u23 category in 53:04, followed by Adrian Key (57:47) and JG van der Westhuizen in 1:04:29.
Looser also won the Women’s Elite Individual Time Trial race over 27km in 42:28, followed by Melissa Hinz in 43:04, and Anri Greeff in 44:35, while Du Plessis won the Women’s u23 category in 48:03, followed by Olivia Shililifa in 51:30.
Meanwhile, the vice president of the Namibia Cycling Federation, Tauko Shilongo announced the team that will represent Namibia at the 2024 Africa Games in Ghana, which is as follows:
Lowe, Martin Freyer, Denzel de Koe, Key, Du Plessis, Shililifa, Greeff and Jean Mari Mostert.
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