27 Apr 2018 17:30pm
WINDHOEK, 27 APR (NAMPA) Cyclist Drikus Coetzee is happy with his performance at the maiden edition of the just-ended Tour de Limpopo in South Africa.
Coetzee, who also participated in the Commonwealth Games earlier this month, was a guest rider for South African team, Office Guru.
It was his first four-day International Cycling Union (UCI) tour.
He told Nampa via WhatsApp on Thursday he achieved his goal of getting a top 10 finish and some valuable UCI points against the professional teams.
I was definitely noticed for my climbing ability as well as a good rider in the peloton, plus my mental ability to dig extremely deep during crucial times in the race, he said.
Coetzee said the last stage of the tour was tough, despite him being in the main bunch with all the jersey winners.
Disaster struck, and I got a puncture 11 kilometres (km) to the finish. I was in fifth position overall at that stage and I continued riding with the puncture as I hoped for a good finish in the overall ranking of the tour after four days of racing.
Coetzee said he rode the last 11km on a totally flat wheel and hoped to not get caught by the chasing bunch that was coming fast from behind.
I managed to get to the finish line without the chasing bunch catching me, but had to take some real risk around tricky corners to get to the finish before the chasing bunch, because it was important that I defended my overall finish in the top 10.
Before the last stage on Thursday, Coetzee was ranked sixth overall in the Tour de Limpopo.
He finished the first stages 96km route in 24th position and during stage two, the young cyclist finished the 175km course in sixth position.
He finished stage three, which was a team time trial, in 10th position before ending the last stage on 20th position on Thursday. This guaranteed him an overall top 10 finish in the tour.
Other Namibians in the competition riding for the NNCS Pro Cycling team Chipopeni Kashululu, Jafet Amukushu, Marckernzy Eiseb, Xavier Papo, Denzel de Koe and Gouws Wynandt - finished out of the top 50.
De Koe finished 53rd, Kashululu 63rd, Jafet 70th, Eiseb 68th, while Papo and Wynandt did not finish the last stage.