Durban – After more than a decade campaigning at the aQuellé Tour Durban presented by Bridge Fund Managers, Dusty Day is looking forward to his 14th challenge, hoping that the top step on the podium, that has eluded him so far in his career, is on the cards.
The 30 year-old stalwart from Klerksdorp has a second, third, fourth and fifth to his credit, and has been a regular fixture in the top ten since his first Tour Durban in 2006. The closest he has come to wining it was a hairs-breadth loss to Dean Edwards in 2010.
“For me the Tour Durban is the best race on the calendar,” says Day, who will make up the Barzani Pro Cycling team with his younger brother Tyler Day.
“I have ridden every single one since my first race. It is a totally not-negotiable race on my calendar every year,” he says.
“I feel like I am in good form at the moment, so let’s see if I can sit on the right wheels and give myself a chance!”
The Day brothers were central to the TEG-Barzani Pro Cycling team retaining their title at the Double90 event based in Clarens last weekend, and bring good form into the Durban classic.
Day, as a seasoned elite, rides as a semi-pro, fitting in his training around his work commitments, but says that he and his team-mates have been able to get this balance right and stay competitive.
“In South Africa you can training two hours a day and get in the long rides on the weekend and be competitive” he explained.
He and his brother train with their team mates in and around Klerksdrop – “where it is fast and flat,” he says – but like many other teams they will be splitting their resources to send riders to other events around the country.
The fact that he will be campaigning with his brother, a former Cape Town Cycle Tour winner, appeals to the elder Day.
“We have a great relationship on and off the bike. We both love racing. If we didn’t enjoy every moment of it, we wouldn’t do it,” he says firmly.
“The Tour Durban is a great race in every sense. The course is fantastic. The hard climb comes early on, and that is fine if you are in good form.
“For the elite riders it is quite an unforgiving route. If you are in good form it can be very good, but if you are off your game it can be bad!”
“It is one of the best organised races of the year,” he added. “It is like a well-oiled machine.”