2020 Nedbank Desert Dash is on!

The most spectacular mountain bike race in Africa, the Nedbank Desert Dash, was launched yesterday in the capital.

13 October 2020 | Sports

Limba Mupetami

WINDHOEK



The Nedbank Desert Dash attracts top cyclists from all over the world every year. Covering 373km in a 24-hour mountain bike race from Windhoek to Swakopmund via the Namib Desert, this year's 16th edition will kick-off on 11 December at the Grove Mall, with cyclists enduring all kinds of weather and physical pain to reach the finishing line the next day at the Platz Am Meer shopping mall.

Nedbank Namibia's managing director, Martha Murorua, mentioned the challenges faced to make accurate predictions regarding organising the race this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We couldn't say for a few weeks with absolute certainty that we will even have a 2020 edition of the Dash, however, we can say that there will be 212 solo cyclists - of whom 18 will be female participants – as well as 126 two-person and 34 four-person teams this year.

“Even with great uncertainty over international travel, by last Friday's count, we will have a contingent of international cyclist that constitutes 35% of the overall total,” she added.

Because of you

Murorua further sent a special word of gratitude to the participants.

“The race is what it is because of you. At the end of this year's Dash, you will have cycled through the dark desert night once more and seen the sun rise over beautiful empty spaces of the Dorob National Park.

“You will undoubtedly have experienced tiredness beyond imagination. But you will have conquered the Namib Desert. You will be remembered and you will feel on top of the world once more. May you have only fond memories in the years to come about the 2020 edition,” she said.

Test yourself

Sports minister Agnes Tjongarero, who was invited to officiate the launch, said the race accords Namibian cyclists a chance to test themselves against international competitors.

“Even with the current global uncertainties over international travel, the organisers have informed me that about 35% of this year's participants will be international cyclists.

“About 290 cyclists hold South African citizenship, with Germany and United Kingdom that will be represented by 18 and 12 cyclists respectively. I'm pleased to see some other cyclists from our continent also joining in this year, with Botswana, Malawi, Angola and Zimbabwe all represented in the 2020 Dash.

“It is also good that we have a Congolese cyclist participating this year, alongside cyclist from as far afield as Austria, Canada, Spain and Portugal,” the minister said.

Tjongarero further wished the cyclists the best with their preparations.

“I admire your bravery and trust that your experience this year be truly memorable.”



Last year's best

Last year's winner, Switzerland's Konny Looser with Dusty Day, might again feature in the excruciating race.

Meanwhile, Namibian cyclists Dan Craven, Alex Miller, Drikus Coetzee and Tristan de Lange plan on giving Looser a run for his money. Rebecca Robisch, Irene Steyn and Vera Looser will also be familiar faces in the women's category.

The Nedbank Desert Dash is hosted in partnership with Indongo Toyota, Super Spar and Bokomo Namibia.

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