Craven tops UCI rankings
The seventh place position on the last stage was enough for the 32-year old from the ‘Bike Aid- Ride for Help’ team to seal the win ahead of the second placed rider, Benjamin Stauder from Germany.
Craven took the yellow jersey after the sixth stage and made sure he didn’t have to surrender it again. The tour in central Africa did not start too bright for Craven as he only managed the 21st place at the first stage.
Craven then 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 in stage 6, which then earned him the yellow jersey. A 9th and 4th place on the following two stages meant that with a lead of only 6 seconds, the winner would be determined on the last stage, which stretched an agonising 120 km from Bafia to the capital Yaoundé.
“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 cards,” Craven said.
After about 75 km, a group of two broke away. They were followed by another four men group, but since they didn’t pose a threat to Craven, he and his team mates let them go. The final stretch did however prove to be more difficult.
“The final was pretty crazy with the road closure not being 100 percent tight in some places and a very fast and dangerous descent in the last three km”, the former African champion stated further.
Eventually, he did manage 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 mountain jersey.
Craven will now try to recover and train for his next tour, Tour de Morocco which is slated for April. He is very confident that he is on path for his prime goal to stay in the top 5 of the UCI Africa ranking. This will enable him to qualify for the elite World Championships in August and this would be only the second time after 2009 that a Namibian cyclist qualifies to participate in the World Champs.