21 Aug 2019 16:20pm
By Hesron Kapanga
RABAT, 21 AUG (NAMPA) Tristan de Lange and Alex Miller on Wednesday won the first medals for team Namibia at the African Games underway in Morocco.
Team Namibia had four riders competing in the Men's Cross-Country final, which had seven lops of five kilometres at the VTT Sports Centre in Benslimane.
De Lange and Miller broke off from the rest of the riders just after the third lap of the race.
The Namibian duo kept a very high pace and had a big gap at the end of lap three despite De Lange crushing at the start of lap one and had to chase from the back.
The duo created a gap of 30 seconds from the chasing pack of their teammate Xavier Papo and a Tunisian rider Maher Habouria at the end of the second lap.
With three laps to go in the race, the Namibian riders were in a league of their own as they extended the lead at the top to one minute 20 seconds but it was De Lange who got the better of Miller, who is the national road race and mountain bike champion.
De Lange continued with his attack in the last lap of the race, creating a gap of more than one minute between them to cross the line first to be crowned the African Mountain Bike Champion.
De Lange completed the seven loops, which spanned over 35km, in one hour 24 minutes and 45 second (1:24:45) while Miller came second in a time of 1:25:31.
Habouria of Morocco finished in third position almost six minutes behind the winner in a time of 1:29:52 while Xavier came fourth, seven minutes behind the victor in a time of 1:31:44.
Another Namibian rider, Danzel de Koe, finished 13th out of the 28 riders that competed in the event on the day. He was two laps behind De Lange when he crossed the line.
Speaking to Nampa after the race, team coach Hans du Toit said he was happy with the athletes performance at the championship.
We had 11 countries competing at this competition but we have two medals for cycling and Namibia. This shows why we are here. Tristan had a crash in the start and had to race from the back but him not giving up after the crush paid off and Papo also cycled very well, which shows how he continues to improve as an athlete, Du Toit said.