Another big field of cycling enthusiasts will take to the roads of Durban on Sunday 28 April at the 26th edition of the aQuellé Tour Durban presented by Bridge Fund Managers, with a number of big guns surfacing in late entries to spice up the elite challenge for the prestigious classic title.
Three times winner Nolan Hoffman, winner of the 2018 Cape Town Cycle Tour and a legend of the South African track racing scene, will be back for another crack at the title in the Team Enza colours.
The Bolander, who turned 34 on Tuesday, last won the Tour Durban title in 2013, and more importantly he has been the general behind many of the dominant team performances here in the past decade.
“The Hoff” comes to Durban with a team that includes experienced cool-heads in David Maree and Steven van Heerden.
He will have to square up to the defending Tour Durban champion Gustav Basson (TEG Pro Cycling) who returns with his team mate Jason Oosthuisen to try and repeat their one-two of 2018.
Add to that mix the class of riders like Barzani’s Tyler and Dusty Day, Dylan Girdlestone and Marc Pritzen (OfficeGuru Racing), the racing at the front will live up to the status of this Durban classic.
In a twist, some of the regular campaigners on the domestic circuit will be absent, thanks to a curious clash on the calendar with a road race in Gauteng, leaving the door wide open for the loyal supporters of the Durban event to attack the podium places.
Local fans of the Tour Durban were gearing up to rally behind Kloof youngster Tiffany Keep, whop after a storming solo second last year and an equally impressive third in the recent Cape Town Cycle Tour, was really looking forward to the race.
She has returned from a MTB XCO racing in Namibia in good form, only to fall badly, needing stitches to repair the damage and reluctantly forcing her to withdraw from her hometown major road race.
The big day on the Durban sporting calendar will see another huge field take on the 55km race that includes 15km of MTB off-road racing through the sugar cane plantations inland of the M4, while the well supported 45km Fun Ride up-and-back the M4 to Mdloti and back to the start and finish venue at the Moses Mabhida stadium always attracts a big field.
This race will include the
hand-cyclists, now formally recognised as a separate class by the race,
and in a new initiative, race sponsor Bridge Fund managers pay the entry
fee for e3very hand-cyclist who enters the race.
Many of those riders will opt to ride for one of the five official race charities, the Domino Foundation, the CHOC Cows, iThemba Lethu, iCare or Focus on iThemba, enjoying the right to a preferential place in charity batches in the 100km and 45km races.
The Domino Foundation is closely tied to the race and has been the recipient of proceeds from the race for many years, helping to fund its seven education, nutrition, healthcare, environmental and anti-human-trafficking initiatives, much of it centred on the Amaoti area north of Durban.
The Cows ride in their distinctive black-and-white cowprint cycling kit to raise money for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation, and this year they have extended their involvement to include a group that will ride the 100km race and them join the back of the 45km ride to help the slower riders on their lap in the M4 freeway.
The day will conclude with a Kids Fun Ride around the Moses Mabhida Peoples Park, starting at 10:30am, with registration at the Domino Foundation and CHOC Cows gazebos. Entry is free and youngster will get cold aQuellé drinks, ice creams from Hubertos and medals.
Late entries form the three races will still be taken at Cycle Lab Cornubia on Friday and Saturday.
2018 Gustav Basson, Kim le Court
2017 Clint Hendricks, An-Li Kachelhoffer
2016 Bradley Potgieter, Lise Olivier
2015 Ryan Gibbons, Cherise Stander
2014 Reynard Butler, Lise Olivier
2013 Nolan Hoffman, Lynette Burger