New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Craven Craves Olympic Glory, Defies Odds

Namibia's leading cyclist Dan Craven arrived at the Athletes Village on Monday evening in high spirits and immediately announced that he was looking forward to the men's cycling race- billed to be the first event of the 2012 London Olympics, starting at 10h00 on Saturday.

Craven has just completed a two-week training camp in Belgium during which he competed in half a dozen races. The bearded cyclist finished 30th overall in his final race in a bunch sprint, clocking the same time as the winner, but Craven says the results were not important at this stage.

"My Belgian trip has not been about results but about training. I normally ride about 80km to and back from the races, then do a 160km race so that I can get to the Olympic distance which will be 250km," he added.

The Namibia rider also attended a training camp in the United States with his professional team - GI Sigma Sport, where they did six races in two weeks.

"I did 1 900km training in two weeks, so I was exhausted when I got to the races, but it was the best preparation I could have ever had."

However, he had several setbacks this year and agrees that his training could have gone better. The Omaruru born cyclist was sick at the beginning of the year and could not do as well as expected at the Namibian Championships, while he crashed out of the RAS Cycling Race in Ireland, when he suffered a brief but disastrous spell of amnesia for 30 minutes which resulted in several facial cuts. The constant rain in England also put another damper on his training routine, while the lack of competition and races also did not help much.

"I thought the year would go differently but I did the best that I could under the circumstances. Since April I did not get good races from my team and raced in only two UCI accredited races. There were a lot of changes in the team with the previous manager being fired, so we did not have enough races and that did not help with preparation," he concluded.

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