Craven Wins Tour Du Cameroun

NAMIBIAN professional cyclist Dan Craven won the Tour du Cameroun on Wednesday and as a result is leading the UCI Africa Ranking.

A seventh place on the last stage was enough for the 32-year old Namibian from the ‘Bike Aid- Ride for Help’ team to seal the win ahead of the second placed rider, Benjamin Stauder from Germany.

Craven could not prepare much for the tour due to illness and did not get off to a good start as he could only manage 21st position on Stage One.

Craven however shrugged off the opening disappointment to clinch the second place on Stage Two. This was followed by a 19th place, two 6th places and finally another second place on Stage 6, which then earned him the yellow jersey.

He finished ninth and fourth on the following two stages which meant that with a lead of only six seconds, the winner would be determined on the last stage, which stretched an agonising 120km from Bafia to the capital Yaoundeacute.

Craven had taken the yellow jersey after the sixth stage and made sure he didn’t have to surrender it again.

“The last day was extremely fast with a lot of attacks that my team had to control. Fortunately, the second, third and fourth placed riders in the general classification were also trying to protect their positions, which played into our hands,” Craven said.

After about 75 km, a group of two broke away. They were followed by another four-man group, but since they didn’t pose a threat to Craven, he and his team mates let them go.

The final stretch however proved to be more difficult.

“The final stretch was pretty crazy with the road closure not being 100 percent tight in some places and a very fast and dangerous descent over the last three km,” the former African champion said.

Eventually, he managed to keep an eye on his closest competitors to come in seventh on the stage and claim the overall tour victory as well as the king of the mountains jersey.

Craven will now head home to Namibia to recover and train before he will get ready for the Tour de Morocco in April. He is very confident that he is on track to achieve his main target of staying in the top five of the UCI Africa rankings.

This will enable him to qualify for the elite World Championships in August. This would be only the second time after 2009 that a Namibian cyclist qualifies to participate in the World Championships.

Source : The Namibian