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Lowe beats Hahn in growing rivalry 

Junior cyclists dominated the third Nedbank cross country mountain bike race which took place at Farm Windhoek on Saturday.

Kevin Lowe was a clear winner, beating Daniel Hahn by more than three minutes to the line, but the top five finishers were all junior riders, with the first elite rider, Xavier Papo only finishing sixth overall. 

Lowe completed the six-lap race in a time of one hour two minutes 48 seconds, with Hahn coming second in 1:05:52, while Adrian Key came third in 1:08:02.

They were followed by two more juniors, Justus Beulker (1:08:23) and Oskar Roeber (1:10:02), before Papo crossed the line as the top elite rider in a time of 1:13:30. Simon Kaita came second in the elite men’s category in 1:14:45, while FC Smith came third in 1:17:00.

Nicola Fester won the elite women’s race over five laps in 1:07:03, followed by Madison Mann (1:12:26) and Luanne vander Schyff (1:15:49), while Ada Kahl won the junior women’s race over four laps in 58:22. 

Lowe said he had a great ride. 

“It was pretty awesome – we started off with the elites today, I didn’t have the best of starts and struggled with Dan to get past but then we finally got past the elite riders and then it was my and Daniel’s race. I managed to get in front of him onto the downhill and pretty much led from there. I got a puncture on lap four but I quickly managed to change that and then I was on for the last two laps, so overall I think it was a good ride and a solid day out,” he said. 

Kevin Lowe and Daniel Hahn interviewed after their race at the Nedbank XC3 on 19 June 2023. Video: Helge Schütz

Lowe and Hahn, who are both still 18, have been developing a great rivalry over the past year or two and last week Hahn fared better, winning a bronze medal at the African Junior Championships in South Africa, while Lowe came sixth. Lowe, however, said he had some mechanical setbacks. 

“The African Champs was not one to write home about, I had a crash on the first lap and had to reposition my bars, and then managed to almost get back to Dan and the second cyclist, but then my gears started giving me issues all the way through the race and my chain kept on dropping off so in the end it was position six for me. I can be happy with that, but it’s not the African Champs that I would have wanted.”

Hahn said he was satisfied with his form on Saturday. 

“Today was hard, the course was a bit flatter than I would have liked, but it was a good race and I managed to push myself better than I thought today, so I’m happy with second place and how the form is slowly coming along for the world champs,” he said.

“At the African Champs I had a really good start, I was really settled into the race nicely in third position and then some gaps started opening between the top three riders. I was catching second, but I dropped a chain and lost some more time, but I’m satisfied with the third place,” he added. 

Both cyclists are now hard at work preparing for the junior world championships in Europe in August, and they agreed that their rivalry has pushed them to greater heights. 

“I find its probably the best thing ever, especially for races overseas, we can always push each other, so I’m very thankful and grateful that we have each other,” Hahn said. 

“Just having someone who always pushes you hard just prepares you so well for racing overseas, so I’m thankful for every race I get to battle with Daniel. The races when he’s not around are quite boring for me, so I’m quite happy with having Daniel around,” Lowe added.