Coetzee excelling at Tour de Limpopo

24 Apr 2018 19:00pm
WINDHOEK, 24 APR (NAMPA) - Commonwealth Games cyclist, Drikus Coetzee, finished sixth during stage two of the Tour de Limpopo in South Africa on Tuesday.
Coetzee, who is a guest cyclist for South African team Office Guru, is competing at the same event as fellow Namibians riding for the NNCS Pro Cycling team – Chipopeni Kashululu; Jafet Amukushu; Marckernzy Eiseb; Xavier Papo, Danzel Dekoe and Gouws Wynandt.
During stage one of the tour on Monday, Coetzee finished the 96 kilometre (km) route in 24th position out of 98 riders who completed the race, while on Tuesday during stage two the young cyclist finished the 175km course in sixth position.
Speaking to Nampa via WhatsApp on Tuesday, Coetzee said stage two was very tough.
“We had an eight kilometre climb at an average of eight per cent after just 20km of cycling. This was a very decisive point in the stage where I lost the only nutrition bottle I had over a hump and I rode 50km without nutrition on a hot day,” he said.
He added that they started the climb at a steady pace, but it became difficult as a group containing all the stage one Jersey winners got a gap from the rest, but he managed to stick with them until they reached 400 metres to the top.
“There were King of the Mountains points up for grabs after the climb and because I did not lose too much time, I used my time trial strength to close that gap to be part of the group in front,” Coetzee said.
They faced crosswinds after reaching the 90km mark, but the cyclist said he dug very deep to stay in touch with the race leaders after the earlier chase.
“The last 10km was extremely hard, with the guys attacking, but I managed to stay within touching distance and sprinted for a very well deserved top six,” Coetzee said.
The NCCS Pro Cycling team finished stage one of the race on Monday out of the top 50. Kashululu finished 36th out of the 88 riders who completed stage two on Tuesday.
Dekoe finished 56th, Eiseb 75th and Jafet 76th, while Papo and Wynandt did not finish the race.
The race is being held in stages, comprising the International Cycling Union Africa Tour 2.2 stage elite race and a veterans’ tour that will follow the same routes as the elite race.
The Tour de Limpopo ends Thursday.