First medals for Team Namibia
The Namibian duo of Tristan de Lange and Alex Miller have won gold and silver medals, respectively, at the ongoing Africa Games.
23 August 2019 | Sports
Team Namibia had four riders competing in the men's cross-country final, which had seven loops of five kilometres each at the VTT Sports Centre in Benslimane.
De Lange and Miller broke away from the rest of the group early on in the race.
The Namibian duo kept a very high pace and had a big gap at the end of lap three, despite De Lange crashing at the start of lap one and having to chase from the back.
The duo created a gap of 30 seconds ahead the chasing pack that included teammate Xavier Papo and Tunisian rider Maher Habouria, at the end of the second lap.
With three laps to go, the Namibian riders were in a league of their own, as they extended their lead to one minute and 20 seconds, but it was De Lange who got the better of Miller, who is the national road race and mountain bike champion.
De Lange continued with his attack during the last lap of the race, creating a gap of more than one minute between them, to cross the line first to be crowned the African mountain bike champion.
De Lange completed the seven loops, which spanned over 35 kilometres, in one hour, 24 minutes and 45 seconds (1:24:45), while Miller came second in a time of 1:25:31.
Habouria finished third, almost six minutes behind the winner, in a time of 1:29:52, while Xavier came fourth, seven minutes behind the victor, in a time of 1:31:44.
Another Namibian rider, Danzel de Koe, finished 13th out of the 28 riders that competed in the event on the day. He was two laps behind De Lange when he crossed the line.
Team coach Hans du Toit said he was happy with their performance at the championship.
“We had 11 countries competing at this competition, but we have two medals for cycling and Namibia. This shows why we are here. Tristan had a crash at the start and had to race from the back, but not giving up after the crash paid off; and Papo also cycled very well, which shows how he continues to improve as an athlete,” Du Toit added.