Nedbank Cycling Challenge to hit Windhoek

• By Michael Uugwanga

THE latest edition of the Nedbank Cycling Challenge was launched in the capital on Tuesday, after a year absence due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The event which has become the country’s biggest cycling event will be held on February 13 and it will also be its 26th edition since its inception in 1986, and today the number of participants has increased to over a thousand riders.

The launch of the event was graced by the Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Agnes Tjongarero who was also the keynote speaker.

Managing Director of Nedbank Namibia, Martha Murorua could not hide her excitement  regarding the return of the event which  has produced past and present top international cyclers, such as Mannie Heymans, Erik Hoffman, Costa Seibeb, Dan Craven, Vera Adrian, Irene Steyn and Michelle Vorster.

“When the story of Namibian cycling is written, the contribution of Nedbank to the sport’s growth will be prominently featured. We have committed to assisting in the growth of cycling,” said Murorua.

The Nedbank cycling challenge takes place across distances of 20km, 30km, and 60km, with the 10km race designed for elite athletes.

It was also announced that the Mountain Bike Challenge and Nedbank Kidz Challenge, which are usually held on the same day as the road challenge, will not be hosted this year, particularly because of an intense cycling calendar.

Speaking at the launch, Tjongarero said that the sport of cycling can help reduce pollution in the air and traffic congestion.

Tjongarero, therefore urged the Municipality of Windhoek to consider putting up more cycling lanes which could act as training ground for many people.

“According to stats, using bicycles contributes to cleaner air and less congestion on the roads, while also making education, health care, and other social services more accessible to the most vulnerable populations. We have seen the City of Windhoek commence with the construction of new bicycle lanes too.  Perhaps more bicycle lanes could act as training grounds for many people to participate in the country’s biggest cycling race.”

Nedbank is the main sponsor of the event, together with co-sponsors Coca-Cola, Windhoek Pedal Power, Namibia Health Plan (NHP) and Pay Today.