The 2013 Nedbank Cycle Challenge

The 2013 Nedbank Cycle Challenge will be remembered as a subtle changing of the guard, as the youngsters forcefully staked a claim for future greatness. Both Till Drobisch and Vera Adrian are past winners of their respective elite categories when they were both still in their teens, and this year the credentials of young Chelna Neethling, Martin Freyer and Tristan de Lange received a significant boost. Freyer won the Nedbank MTB Challenge, while junior cyclist, de Lange, bagged second place in the Nedbank MTB Challenge and finished fourth in the Nedbank Cycle Challenge a week later.

The title as men’s elite Nedbank Cycle Challenge champion, however, belongs to the outstanding Raul Costa Seibeb for the second year running! In the days leading up to Namibia’s largest mass participation sporting event, it was not even confirmed that Seibeb will be in the country to defend the title that has won in surprising, but emphatic, fashion in 2012. Last year an unfortunate puncture nearly put paid to his dreams of a triumphant return to cycling following some demoralizing events that nearly had him quit the sport for good.

Namibia’s Olympian hero and record-holder for the Nedbank Cycle Challenge, Dan Craven, coaxed Seibeb back into his saddle again and the talented 21-year-old showed that he lost nothing of his sharpness by beating a strong field of cyclists to the finish line in 2012. Seibeb is currently attached to the UCI African Cycling Centre in Potchefstroom, South Africa, where he hopes to convince a professional cycling outfit of his credentials and secure a berth as a professional athlete. An elated Seibeb said after the race, “I am very happy with my victory and although it was a hard race, I’m just happy to have made it. The Namibian cyclists are really strong, but they must just push hard all the way”.

Established cyclist, Heinrich Köhne, who has represented Namibia at a number of international events, picked up the runner-up jersey in 2:28:41 by crossing the finish line five seconds behind Seibeb. Köhne also took the bronze medal in the Nedbank MTB Challenge a week earlier, with Freyer rounding up the podium positions of the Nedbank Cycle Challenge in third place.

Junior cyclist, Chelna Neethling, said she is glad that her hard work paid off in the end. “I am in my final school year and it is challenging to find the right balance between practicing and studying, but the victory means the world to me”, she added. Her time over the 100km distance was 2:39:38, with the experienced Irene Steyn coming second in 2:39:41.

Nedbank Namibia’s Managing Director, Erastus Hoveka, challenged the Namibian cycling fraternity by asking: “Will you ride for a greener Namibia?”. A record number of 1200 cyclists in the Nedbank Cycle Challenge and close to 500 who entered the Nedbank MTB Challenge answered that question in emphatic fashion when they lined up for the 28th edition of the Nedbank Cycle Challenge! .PF