A serious cycling event is scheduled for this weekend on the outskirts of Windhoek. Starting on Friday 12 April, the Mountain Bike African Championship takes place at the IJG Trails next to Kleine Kuppe.
The weekend's event is hosted under the auspices of the African Cycling Confederation, known in cycling circles as the CAC. This is the 11th African Mountain Bike championship and runs over two days.
Earlier this week, Nedbank as the main championship sponsor, hosted a media briefing to confirm that all elements in preparation of the event, are in place. The track has been demarcated and prepared by the Rock & Rut Mountain Bike Club with special sponsored obstacles conforming to the standards set by the cycling confederation.
As an official African championship, it has drawn entries from many cyclists. From Namibia, eleven riders have qualified but it is widely expected that South African riders will dominate in both the men and women categories.
On Friday, as a curtain raiser to Saturday's main races, junior riders up to the age of 16 have the opportunity to compete in five events with the sub-veteran and veteran women's races also scheduled for the afternoon.
Saturday sees the main races, starting with the sub-veteran and veteran men's races early in the morning, followed by the start of another event approximately every two hours until 16:15 with the start of the Elite Mens' race. In addition to the older male cyclists, Saturday's line-up includes the categories for Junior Men and Junior Women, U23 Women and Elite Women in a combined race, U23 Men and ultimately the grand Elite Men's race.
The Namibian competitors include: Junior women: Cindy Rowland, Junior men: Dieter Koen and Hugo Hahn, Elite women: Michelle Vorster, Elite men: Xavir Papo and Alex Miller. Namibian riders Denzel de Koe and Carmen Conrad, will compete in Federation colours. The current Namibian champion Tristan de Lange had to withdraw for health reasons.
The bank's Executive for Retail and Business Banking, Richard Meeks, said "We are immensely proud that Nedbank Namibia is able to back our cyclists at these championships. The fact that we are able to host a prestigious continental cycling race in our country is precisely because of brave decisions, dedicated volunteerism, and the unbridled enthusiasm of our cycling community."
The national winners in the senior events will secure one sport for Tokyo 2020.
Caption: Announcing that Namibia is ready for this weekend's 11th African Mountain Bike Championship, from the left, President of the Namibian Cycling Federation, Rolf Adrian; Namibian cyclists, Alex Miller, Xavir Papo and Michelle Vorster; and Nedbank Executive for Retail and Business Banking, Richard Meeks.