Craven Fifth At Tour Du Maroc

NAMIBIAN professional cyclist Dan Craven finished fifth overall in the Tour du Maroc and as a result is set to maintain his lead in the UCI Africa Ranking.

The ten-stage tour was won by French rider, Julien Loubet, with a two second lead over Mouhssine Lahsaini from Morocco.

Craven finished four minutes and four seconds behind the winner in fifth position and as second best African rider.

Craven had a g start into the tour and managed to form part of the deciding breakaways on the first days. As a result he was placed second overall after Stage 3, only 38 seconds down on the leader. This however resulted in him being a marked man on Stage 4 and any breakaway attempt was immediately countered by the opposing teams.

A group, which did not include any of the top placed riders, managed to build a lead and ended the stage just over 10 minutes ahead of Craven and the main field. This pushed Craven down into 13th position on the general classification, with little chance of getting back into contention for the top positions.

Craven and his ‘Bike Aid – Ride for Help’ team however decided to continue with an aggressive race strategy. This strategy paid off for Craven when he managed to escape with a break-away group on Stage 5 and finish the stage almost 5 minutes ahead of the main field of riders. With this exceptional effort Craven moved back up into the top ten, lying eighth on the overall classification.

Stage 6 started with a big scare for Craven when he was involved in an accident resulting in various bruises on his body as well as a broken bike. Luckily a spare bicycle was at hand for Craven to continue the race.

“The spare bike was three sizes to small for me with components usually found on beginners’ bicycles, but it was sufficient to keep me in the race,” Dan commented.

After changing bikes with a team mate later during the stage, Craven was able to finish the stage gly and reached the finish in a small breakaway group almost two minutes ahead of the main field.

Craven’s injuries from the accident significantly impacted his performance on the remaining stages, but excellent support from his team and consistent performances provided Craven with a top five finish in the general classification.

The next stop for Craven and his ‘Bike Aid -Ride for Help’ team is the 190km Arno Wallaard race in Netherlands on Friday, followed by the 200km Rund um Koumlln race in Germany on Monday.

Source : The Namibian