Craven Ecstatic After Completing Vuelta a Espana

Namibian professional cyclist Dan Craven was ecstatic after completing his first Vuelta a Espana on Sunday afternoon.

The 31-year-old was the first Namibian to have participated in one of the three grand tours, the greatest events in road cycling (Vuelta a Espana, Giro D’Italia and Tour de France) and making Namibia one of only three African nations to have a rider in a grand tour in recent years (after South Africa and Eritrea).

“I, Dan Craven of Omaruru, Namibia, have just finished a Grand Tour. Blimey! Who’d a thought that a year ago!?” the former African champ tweeted after joining an elite group of athletes to have completed a grand tour, and celebrating the fact that he had fought hard to get to the top after several years plagued by health issues.

It was a dream come true, according to Craven: “I’m somewhat stunned right now. I actually gave up on this dream several years ago but somehow kept trying and here I am now,” he said.

Craven said he did his job on the tour and that his team was happy with him.

“I did my job for the team at this tour which was looking after Romain Sicard as well as Yannick Martinez (who thanks to me positioning him perfectly before a climb and then blowing myself was able to get fourth on stage 19). I did that job well and the team is happy with me, but I was not able to get into a breakaway, which is a personal goal I had wanted to achieve,” he said.

“This was the hardest fought grand tour of the year and had more climbing than the Tour de France, so I know that I can come back next year and improve on what I did the first time round,” he continued.

Craven’s role in the team was to make sure his captain from Team Europcar, Romain Sicard, would finish as far at the top as possible. And, with the help of Craven, who only joined the team in July, the Frenchman made a Top-20 place, coming in at 13th. Craven ended the race in 140th place from 159 Finishers and 219 Starters.

The race started on 23rd August and ran over three weeks covering a distance of 3,240 km across Spain with the winner averaging 39.8kmh throughout.

The overall win went to Spain’s Alberto Contador, who won the title for the third time. His archival, Christopher Froome from Great Britan, came second, 1.10 minutes behind, while third place went to Alejandro Valverde of Spain, who was 1.15 minutes adrift.

Source : The Namibian