South African riders whitewashed the Namibian men's riders in the revived Tour de Windhoek which took place in and around the capital during the previous weekend. The Namibian female riders showed far more mettle, taking all three top positions in this gruelling 5-stage urban race.
In the individual men's category, South African riders Steven van Heerden and Calvin Beneke came in first and second with Namibia only able to make a stand on the lowest step of the podium with Jayde Julies in third place.
In the women's category, Namibia dominated with Michelle Vorster, Michelle Doman and Irene Steyn convincingly demonstrating why they are regarded as the top local female riders.
In the teams competition, it was a similar pattern with the South African Team BCX taking the top spot in the men's category while all three top teams in the women's category are local.
After an 8-year interruption, the Tour de Windhoek was held with much trepidation but judging by the number of both local and South African teams that entered, it looks as if this annual cycling event has made a solid comeback and is here to stay.
Comprising five stages over three days in and around Windhoek, the Tour covers 400 kilometres through peri-urban and urban tracks.
From the start it was apparent that three teams were the bigges contenders, not only for the yellow jersey after every stage, but also for the overall winner position. Throughout the stages it was a battle between Team BCX, Team Pro Touch and Team Kia Elite among the men. Team BCX dominated from the first stage when South African rider David Maree took the yellow jersey.
In the female category, the Namibian power was evident right from the first stage when Michelle Vorster lead Michelle Doman by three minutes. Among the women, it was Team Zimmermann VW Cats, Team R&R Importers and Team MBM Ladies that dominated and eventually took the top positions.
The reinstated Tour de Windhoek was memorable, not only for the riders' prowess but also for the cheering support from the crowds lining the streets in eager anticipation to witness the epic battles between the leading riders.
Stage 5 in particular, which ran through Otjomuise drew hundreds of spectators, all cheering loudly as each rider came past. This great display of Namibian spirit was highly regarded by all riders, afterwards expressing their appreciation for the very vocal urging from the crowds.
The race ended on Sunday afternoon with a prize-giving ceremony after the results for all five stages have been consolidated.
Final Results, position and times
Individual Men's Winners. Steven van Heerden (TEAM BCX) - 7:44:28 Calvin Beneke (TEAM BCX) - 7:45:17 Jayde Julies (Team Pro Touch) - 7:45:55
Individual Women's Winners. Michelle Vorster (Zimmermann VW Cats) - 6:46:48 Michelle Doman (R&R Importers) - 6:57:28 Irene Steyn (MBM Ladies) - 6:58:08
Open Teams Winners. TEAM BCX - 7:35:45 Team Pro Touch - 7:47:34 Team KIA Elite - 7:50:13
Women Teams. Zimmermann VW Cats - 7:04:33 MBM Ladies - 7:09:43 R&R Importers - 7:09:50
The 2017 Tour de Windhoek was sponsored by Hollard, Pupkewitz, Radiowave, Kickstart Event Hire and Namibia Breweries Ltd.