After a successful Cycle4Cansa earlier this month, BCX continued their winning ways when Steven van Heerden took the overall title at the Tour de Windhoek, which concluded in the Namibian capital this weekend.
Van Heerden completed the three-day, five-stage tour in 7:44:28 to take the first tour win of his career. He finished ahead of teammate Calvin Beneke and ProTouch’s Jayde Julius.
He said although the team had been unsure of what to expect, the plan had always been to race for overall honours.
“The plan on the first day was to get as many BCX riders in the top 10 as possible,” said Van Heerden. “From there on the race unfolded in my favour and I was able to make up time in the general classification.”
The 24-year-old delivered a number of top results but the highest step of the podium eluded him. Although he was happy with the overall victory, Van Heerden admitted a stage win would also have been welcome.
The four-man team, which consisted of Van Heerden, Beneke, David Maree and Nolan Hoffman, were a group to be reckoned with as they rode away with three of the four jerseys on offer.
Beneke won the points category and Maree the king of the mountains jersey, while ProTouch’s Mitchell Eliot, who placed sixth overall, was the best young rider.
“The strength of the team played a big role during the tour as we had four riders in the top five on most of the stages,” said Van Heerden.
He said although South African riders dominated in the neighbouring country, the event was one that threw in a few unexpected surprises and challenged the team.
“One would think Windhoek would be flat but, on the last stage, there was a climb that was about 10km long. We had to do two laps that day and, to top it off, it was a hot day as well.”
The national points race champion said, despite his strong start to the season, he felt he had lacked endurance. A solid block of winter training put him in good form to tackle the 400km race.
“I put in more time on the road and it’s starting to pay off. I am looking forward to the remainder of the season,” he said.