Namibia: Miller Pips De Lange in Thrilling Race

ALEX Miller won the elite men's title at the Nedbank National Mountain Bike Championships after beating Tristan de Lange in a thrilling race on Sunday.

The two riders were neck and neck throughout the race at the IJG Trails in Kleine Kuppe, with the lead changing hands several times.

Going into the final lap, there was still nothing in it, with De Lange taking the lead at the second last climb. Miller, however, launched his attack on the final climb and managed to pull away to win the event in a time of one hour 30 minutes and five seconds.

De Lange came second nearly a minute behind in 1:31:03, while Xavier Papo came third in 1:40:47.

It was Miller's second national title of the year after he also won the National Cycling Championships in February. Two months later he also clinched a place for Namibia at next year's Olympic Games, after finishing third at the African Mountain Bike Championships in Windhoek.

Yesterday, a delighted Miller said his tactics had paid off handsomely.

"My planning worked out perfectly. I planned to stick with him, to push slightly on the climbs and then to attack really hard on the last climb and that's how it worked out," he said.

"I'm really happy with how it went. I knew it would be a tough battle, I've always respected Tristan, because he's a really good rider, so I'm very happy with the result," he added.

Miller will now return to Switzerland at the end of the month where he is attending the International Cycling Union's high performance centre and competing at several events in Europe.

"The racing and experience gained was unbelievable. The level of competition was absolutely insane and it helped me to push myself harder," he said.

"I've been learning a lot and the results have been secondary. I've been riding against the elite men at the Swiss Cup and Italy Cup events and my best result was 21st at a Swiss Cup event," he said.

Miller will compete in a few more events in Europe, before leaving for Morocco at the end of July to join his Namibian team mates at the All Africa Games.

"I'm definitely aiming for a podium place. I think some of the top African riders will be competing at the World Mountain Bike Championships in Canada at the same time, so I might have a chance in Morocco," he said.

Irene Steyn, meanwhile, won the elite women's race over four laps in 1:23:04, with Marion Schonecke coming second in 1:37:09 and Courtney Liebenberg third in 1:41:24.

Herbert Peters won the u23 men's category over six laps in 1:43:24, with Marcel Holtz second, a lap behind.

Hugo Hahn won the junior men's category over five laps in a time of 1:28:33, followed by Dieter Koen in 1:38:52.

Andre Steinfurth won the sub veteran men's category over four laps in 1:15:03, while Nicola Fester won the sub veteran women's category over three laps in 1:08:01.

Hans du Toit won the veteran men's category over four laps in 1:10:17, followed by Mannie Heymans (1:12:49) and Ian Grassow (1:13:50), while Elanor Grassow won the veteran women's category over three laps in 1:09:23, followed by Susanne Borg (1:11:36).

Piet Swiegers won the masters men's category over three laps in 53:33, followed by Nick du Plessis (57:39) and Stefan Bohlke (58:43), while Antje Tietz won the masters women's category over two laps in 48:52, followed by Barbara Ackermann (50:45) and Carolin Janik (56:38).

Renier Taljaard won the grand masters men's category over two laps in 59:51, while Elke Jagau won the grand masters women's category over two laps in 53:41, followed by Berrit Graf in 58:50.

The various junior age group winners were as follows:

Boys u16: 1. Ethan L'Estrange 2. Bergran Jensen 3. Francois du Plessis.

Girls u16: 1. Monique du Plessis 2. Fiona Vorster.

Boys u14: 1. Daniel Hanhn 2. Kevin Lowe 3. Adrian Key.

Girls u14: 1. Ada Kahl 2. Laura Engling 3. Danika Wiese.

Boys u12: 1. Roger Suren 2. Sean Lowe 3. Marco Thiel.

Girls u12: Delsia Janse van Rensburg 2. Kylie Dickerson 3. Rosemarie Thiel.

Boys u10: 1 Micah Chase 2. Henry Chaimberlain 3. Mike Baartman.

Girls u10: 1 Nicole Suren 2. Lillian Marschall 3. Kyra Marschall.

Boys u8: 1. Johan Vorster 2. Christo Nell 3. York Ahrens.

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