If there is a good cycling program that is well managed monetarily and in terms of activities, they will get the support from corporate Namibia, said Namibian cycling sensation Dan Craven.
Craven was giving advise on how Namibia can become more competitive in cycling, saying development in the country is growing, but not at an admirable pace.
“If we are going to produce the next Konny Looser or Max Knox, we will have to start development with the young ones. They will have to grow the interest and eventually stay long in the sport. This will allow them to mature and eventually give the country competitive results,” said Craven.
He added: “The country needs well organized programs for cycling, only then will corporate Namibia support. If there is a reliable club out there, cycling can grow even bigger.”
Craven praised the ongoing BMX kiddie’s competitions, saying they are a great platform to scout for talent.
“Unlike the mountain bike competitions and road cycling classics, the BMX program provides a different approach that allows us to identify talents to nurture in the long run, but from a young age. It is cheaper because 10 kids can use one bike and as such one is able to see those with the potential.”
According to Craven, who is in and out of the country due to his busy cycling schedules, mountain bike races have become popular and are a perfect opportunity to get locals involved. Craven was making reference to the just ended Nedbank Desert Dash that attracted about 40 per cent international participants coming from as far as Switzerland, Germany and the USA.
“The dash is special in itself. Locals have stepped up in terms of participation all thanks to Nedbank and other sponsors, cycling will live on,” side the Omaruru-based cyclist.
This year, 5 cyclists from Rundu took part in the dash, an indication of how the interest in cycling has penetrated into smaller towns.
Craven could not finish the dash due to stomach cramps as a solo rider. Last year, his colleague in the Two Men category the late Costa Seibeb suffered the same fate.
Looser and Robisch win, again
It was the Swiss’ Konny Looser third consecutive win while German Rebecca Robisch doubled her dominance in the dash this year. Looser was a favorite from the onset and proved to Namibian cycling fans that he means business. Looser clocked in at a record of 13 hours 55 minutes, almost an hour less than his previous record of 14 hours 37 seconds set in 2016.
In second place of the solo men category, Namibia Max Knox arrived 46 minutes later behind Looser, followed by South African Thinus Redelinghuys who came 31 minutes later behind him Knox.
“It is a hat-trick now and it feels nice. The dash was tough but with my experience, I managed to pull through.
I knew the second stage was going to be the most tough and important so I had to put in a lot of effort to catch up with the Four Men team. Everything eventually went according to plan,” said Looser.
Robisch on the other hand is also becoming a Dash favourite after scooping her second victory in the Dash in a time of 16 hour 09 minutes, an hour and 39 minutes faster than last year.
Namibia’s Wilmien Chamberlaine arrived two hours later to take second place while last year’s third place winner Anri Parker settled for the same position again.
The biggest winners were again Robisch and Looser who walked away with prize monies of N$34 000 each.
In the four person’s male team, Mannie’s Bike Mecca took the honours followed by Team Kia in second position and Gondwana Dust in third.
The 2017 edition started at Grove Mall in Windhoek on Friday at 15h00, with cyclists riding through the mountains and desert throughout the night. The race must be completed within 24 hours.