Namibia: Miller Favourite for National Mtb Champs

ALEX Miller will be the hot favourite to win the elite men's category at the Nedbank Namibia National Mountain Bike Championships at the IJG Trails tomorrow morning.

Miller has been in great form lately and last weekend won two events in different disciplines within two days.

On Saturday he won the third leg of the Windhoek Pedal Power road cycling series, the 'Dobra Loops' when he beat Ingram Cuff and Jean Paul Burger to the line.

Riding for the Mannie's Bike Mecca team, Miller completed the 98km event in two hours 18 minutes 59 seconds, with Cuff of Team Simonis Storm second three seconds behind and Burger of Team Cathy third, seven seconds behind.

They were followed by Andre Vermeulen of Team Cycletech (2:19:13), Jurgen Sander of Cymot Racing Team (2:19:21), Drikus Coetzee of Simonis Storm (2:20:35), Hugo Hahn of Cycletech (2:23:36) and Melki Hamukoto of Team RMB Elite (2:23:36).

On Sunday, Miller was even more impressive, winning the Okapuka MTB marathon over 60km in 2:10:57, with Bergran Jensen coming second more than a minute behind in 2:12:05, and Hugo Hahn third in 2:12:53.

They were followed by Herbert Peters (2:14:31), Drikus Coetzee (2:15:45) and Hardus Nel (2:25:27).

Miller, who is still waiting to join his new Team Trek Vaude in Europe, said he was in good form.

"I wasn't expecting to still be in Namibia to do the national marathon championships, but my visa is taking a bit longer than expected. My training has been focussed on Europe so I wouldn't say my form has been peaking for the marathon nationals, but my form is definitely good and I'm looking forward to it," he said.

Miller's main rival Tristan de Lange won't be participating as he will be competing in the first round of the South Africa Cup in Limpopo this weekend, so Miller's main opposition will probably come from the improving Hugo Hahn and Bergran Jensen.

Amongst the elite women, Courtney Liebenberg will start as the favourite in the absence of Michelle Vorster who emigrated to New Zealand earlier this year.

Vorster had dominated MTB racing in Namibia, winning the National MTB Championships for six years in a row, but in her absence, Liebenberg won the Okapuka MTB marathon in convincing style last weekend in 2:38:07, finishing more than 13 minutes ahead of Robyn Lee Swartz (2:51:24) and Carmen Johannes (2:51:33).

There will be various other categories ranging from u12 boys and girls up to the grand master men and women, while the action starts at 07h30 at the IJG Trails at Farm Windhoek tomorrow morning.

Competitors can participate in the full marathon over 61,4km, or two half marathon fun events over 26km and 14km.

The prize-giving ceremony will take place at the IJG Trails, starting at 13h00.

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