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Drikus Coetzee wins Hollard Gravel MTB Challenge

WINDHOEK – Namibian cyclist Drikus Coetzee won the third stage of the Hollard Gravel Mountain Bike challenge at Otjiwa, some 40 kilometres south of Otjiwarongo on Sunday.

The third stage, dubbed the Otjiwa Eagle Ride and Run challenge, forms part of the eight-stage series which sees riders competing on different routes around the country.

On Saturday, Coetzee beat a strong field of cyclists to clock two hours, 20 minutes and 58 seconds (2:20:58) in the Elite Men’s race covering over 80 kilometres in the Otjiwa Lodge area of Otjiwarongo.

Nicolaas Swart finished second in a time of 2:22:47, while Xavier Papo came third in a time of 2:22:48.

Coetzee told this agency on Monday that he broke away from the leading peloton and opened a gap which was safe for him to win the race.

“I was eager to start my series after missing the first two races due to other cycling commitments (Commonwealth Games and Limpopo tour),” he said.

Coetzee, who finished in the top 10 at the recently ended Tour de Limpopo in South Africa, stated that it was going to be anyone’s race to win and he predicted the race to go to a sprint finish.

“It was a great morning for some cycling and I had a big task trying to defend the title I won last year. The race got off to a quick start but when the time was right I managed to break away from the field and never looked back again, as I knew this course suites me best,” Coetzee started.

He also said that defending his title at Otjiwa was a perfect start for him to this year’s series.

The female elite category was won by Irene Steyn in a time of 2:43:33, while Michelle Doman finished the race behind her in a time of 2:53:13 and Janine de Klerk came third in a time of 3:00:46.

The next race of the series will be the Africa Safari Lodge in the Hardap Region in June. – Nampa

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