Defending champs retain titles

2013-05-04 00:00

CYCLING

Nolan Hoffman bagged a hat-trick of wins in the weekend aQuellé Tour Durban cycle race, while the evergreen Lynette Burger secured a second successive win in the women’s race.

Hoffman was elated at the win, particularly at the end of the drama- laden race in which he had to come from behind twice to edge out a strong challenge from Argus champion Herman Fouche and his Bonitas team-mate Christoff van Heerden.

Hoffman’s dramas started on the out-and-back loop up the M4 in the closing stages when he became aware of a slow-leak puncture. He discreetly sent word forward to his team-mates that he would have to stop to change wheels with Tasol GT colleague Myles van Musschenbroek.

“It took me about three kilometres to catch up with the bunch again, which was a relief,” said Hoffman. “I was stressing, but I kept my cool and used my strengths to come back.” Hoffman and his team-mates were well set up for the lead-out going into the final two right handers into the finish at Moses Mabhida Stadium but Hoffman found himself boxed against the barrier on the inside with Fouche and Van Heerden ahead of him and apparently holding all the cards in the end sprint.

“That is what sprinting is all about. At times like that, you have to turn the impossible into the possible,” said Hoffman. “It was a huge gamble and it all happened so fast. It was very close in the end.” With a television motorbike just in front of the leaders, he shot up the inside and crossed the line ahead of the Bonitas duo to claim his third title in succession, and fourth back-to-back win for the Tasol GT team.

The women’s race proved to be an emphatic one for the Momentum Toyota team captained by seasoned pro Burger. She ended a run of unusually poor form with a solid victory over Marissa Stander (Bestmed), with two of her Momentum Toyota team-mates, Leandri du Toit and Anri Coetzee filling third and fourth places. Strong climber Heidi Dalton took the sprint hotspot, and sprinter Burger took the Queen of the Mountains hotspot.

Junior Ryan Felgate took the U18 honours with a superb fifth place overall, while his ASG team-mate Rian Gouws grabbed the U23 yellow jersey one place further back. Dylan Girdlestone (Westvaal BMC) scooped the King of the Mountain prize at the 27 km mark, with Johan Rabie (Tasol GT) snatching the sprint hotspot at the 52 km mark.

The new 55 km cyclocross event was won by Kargo Pro MTB U23 star Rourke Croeser from Andrew Hill (TIB Insurance). eThekwini mayor Councillor James Nxumalo was part of the 45 km race as key role players in driving the city’s cycling initiatives, each rode one of the special bikes developed for the urban cycling initiative.

RESULTS:

TOUR DURBAN

Elite Men : 1. Nolan Hoffman 2:20,31; 2. Herman Fouche 2:20,31; 3. Christoff van Heerden 2:20,31; 4. Dusty Day 2:20,31; 5. Ryan Felgate (U18) 2:20,31; 6. Rian Gouws (U23) 2:20,32; 7. Avery Arendse 2:20,32; 8. Shaun-Nick Bester 2:20,32; 9. Andrew Warr 2:20,32; 10. Martin Scheppel 2:21,32.

Elite Women: 1. Lynette Burger; 2. Marissa Stander; 3. Leandri du Toit; 4. Anri Coetzee 5. Cashandra Slingerland.

CYCLOCROSS

1. Rourke Croeser; 2. Andrew Hill; 3. Nick White.

HAND CYCLING

The sport of hand cycling is little known, but Howick resident Nic Whiteing is making it his sport and hopes to take it to the highest level. Whiteing posted the fastest time for hand cycles at last weekend’s 45 km aQuellé Tour Durban cycle race. He crossed the line in one hour and 32 minutes — 26 minutes faster than his time last year. Whiteing said: “My new handcycle bike contributed to the time a great deal. It is so awesome to pass the other cyclists, and keep up with the fast packs and stick in their slip stream.”

This amazingly positive young man lost the use of his legs in an accident in Cape Town three years ago. “It has been a huge eye-opener to many things and has taught me not to take the small things in life for granted. I wish to make a difference in any way, and would love South Africa and its people to become more aware of disabilities and of people who are disabled,” he added.

Prior to his accident, Whiteing had been extremely active with gym training and mountain biking. He achieved a championship title in his age group for downhill mountain biking in 2006. He has participated in marathons, half-marathons, Toti-69er, Amashova 106 km and last year’s Tour Durban.

“I love this sport. I train as much as possible on the Karkloof road outside Howick where I stay. I try to fit in gym and walking on my callipers as much as possible.

“I started handcycling in February 2012. At first it was very tough on the arms and shoulders, but it is very much a mind-over-matter sport, and helps to see every big hill as a challenge. I think the amount of exercise I used to do and do now, helps me keep a level head and stay focused on the positives in life. I would love to participate at an Olympic level at Paralympics. I think it is extremely important for everyone to remain mobile and active. I don’t find sitting in a wheelchair to be an excuse for anything at all, besides dancing of course,” commented a cheerful Whiteing after his win.

MOUNTAIN BIKING

The third event in the Momentum Health Cross Country (XCO) and Greg Minnaar Downhill KZN MTB Series, scheduled to take place today at the Cascades MTB Park, has been postponed to June 8. This means that the KZN Championships scheduled for that date has been moved to July 6. Inquiries: Vicky at info@ kznmtb.co.za or at 082 896 6864.

The first event in the MiWay Big 5 Series, the Zini Buffalo Classic, takes place tomorrow morning. The 50 km will start with a 25 km loop to the south and head back through the race village. The northern loop will extend through bush lands, with single track through the gum plantations and indigenous forest breaks. The 50 km and 25 km will route through the Twin Stream coastal forest, with a new stretch before the Goodersen Leisure Resort. The track follows walking paths in the forest, a raised board-walk through the mangroves and the Raphia Palms and ends with a climb up to the country club. The Zini Buffalo is the first event to see the 10 km race become an official part of the MiWay Big 5 Series Challenge. Entries close on Wednesday on www. roag.co.za.

The Mascor Greytown MTB Festival takes place next weekend just outside Greytown. “While this event is neither the biggest nor the toughest, it is certainly the best value for money. Set in scenic country, the varied terrain provides opportunities for mountain-bikers of all ages and abilities,” event organiser Dean Brown commented. “The Beehive venue will again offer excellent camping facilities and ablutions, with a number of food and beverage stalls available.” Mountain bikers have a choice of a 50 km, a 35 km and a 25 km, a 10 km fun ride and a three-kilometre kids’ ride on both days. There is also a choice of trail runs — a 10 km on May 11 at 2 pm and a 10 km on May 12 at 9 am. Entries and inquiries: www.roag.co.za.

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