Tokyo 2020 last for Craven

By Michael Uugwanga

THE country’s top male cyclist, Dan Craven, has revealed that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games will be his last after he had mixed results this year due to Visa problems in the United States of America.

He will however still participate in other international races, if selected.

Craven is to date the most decorated cyclist in the country and was the 2008 African Road Race champion, having taken the crown in Casablanca in November just two days after he had picked up a bronze in the African Time Trial Championships.

Craven joined Team IG-Sigma Sport for the 2012 season and spent the 2013 season riding for Synergy Baku before joining the German-based Bike Aid-Ride for Help squad for the 2014 season. In 2016 he won the Namibian Road Race Championship, having won the same title in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2015.

In 2018, he won the Tour du Senegal, but 2009 was perhaps his best year as he won numerous titles, such as the UCI Africa Tour, Chas Messenger Road Race, Shay Elliot Memorial Race, Tour of Rwanda and Clyton Velo Spring Classic.

In an interview with Confidente Sport, the 36-year-old Otjiwarongo-born cyclist said next year’s Games would certainly be his last.

“Next year I will turn 37, so if I’m selected for the Olympics it would almost certainly be my last Olympics, but by no means the end of me participating internationally for my country (if the Namibia Cycling Federation will have me, of course). 2019 has been a very interesting year for me. I moved to the U.S. at the end of 2018, as my wife is American and some amazing opportunities for her prompted our move.

“And in July I became a father. So cycling took a slight back-step this year – especially as I am currently stuck in the U.S. due to a ridiculous Visa process and am not allowed to leave, so I missed my second biggest target of the year, which was the All African Games.

In March, I came in ninth place in the African Champs in Ethiopia, which secured Namibia a place in the men’s road race at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which was my season goal, and obviously I'm very pleased about our team’s performance there.

“Again this year was probably my lightest race calendar since 2004, due to the reasons described above, which is very funny for me. I only raced in four countries and my only victory was the Nedbank Cycle Challenge, but I had some other fun results, as well. I came fifth in the (Cape Argus) Cape Town Cycle Tour, second in the California Regional Champs Time Trial and ninth in the African Championship.”

Craven also paid tribute to retired Namibian cyclist Mannie Heymans, who was for many years Namibia’s top cyclist before the emergence of Craven.

With the festive season just around the corner, Craven said he looks forward to 2020.

“I have very tough and worthy competition for that title in Mannie Heymans, who showed me the way and did so much in his career. Also, we have some amazing talent coming through the ranks and I expect both Mannie and myself to drop down the rankings in the coming years. There are always regrets, but I am very happy with where things have gone in my career.

“I was often quite alone – being a Namibian in Europe – and wish I had stood up for myself a bit more at times (but obviously not at all times as standing up for yourself is not always the best/right thing to do). I have now raced UCI races (races with world cycling points) in 44 countries. And with any luck that can go up a wee bit more.

“I always love racing in Africa. Rwanda, Senegal and Ethiopia were some of my favourites. Especially Ethiopia, as it is a country that I really want to visit again and would love to go for a bike holiday there. Such vibrant culture and interesting landscapes,” he said.