Hoffman defends Shova

2014-10-13 00:00

THE 2014 Amashova Durban Classic pedalled into action yesterday morning with over 12 000 cyclists having a crack at the oldest classic in the country.

Team Abantu rider Nolan Hoffman was the first to cross the finish line in two hours, 25 minutes and 16 seconds to successfully defend his title for the first time — giving him his third Amashova title of his career.

“It was a more nervous race than usual; racing in Durban brings a lot of pressure for the team as we are based here. I was the number one favourite going into the race so there was extra pressure on me but it’s always a relief if you can win in the end,” Hoffman told The Witness.

That pressure didn’t seem to get to Hoffman and the fact that he was able to defend his title under those circumstances is something he is quite proud of.

“The way I look at, one weighs up the prestige of a race in the manner one wins it. As a senior guy in the team, to see a group of guys committing to the race and for the sprints made me feel like I was riding in an under-23 team again,” Hoffman said with a smile.

“I am really proud of it and it’s been one of my best achievements this year so far — I’m just happy, proud, excited — all of it in one.”

Hoffman now has his eyes set on the 94.7 next month and will earn a coveted triple if he wins it after his victories in the Argus and Amashova this year.

Hoffman finished ahead of Meron Teshome Hagos and Ryan Gibbons while a young and talented Kimberley le Court overcame older and more experienced riders for her first big win of her career.

The 18-year-old, who hails from Mauritius, looked happy but relieved to have won the race.

“It was my first Amashova and it was a really nice course, some beautiful scenery and I just loved it,” Le Court said.

The young cyclist did well considering that it was her first big classic although she is no stranger to tough competitions.

“It was my first big classic. I have done World Champs and Youth Olympics, which are major races, but this is my first major win,” she said.

Le Court didn’t take all credit for the victory and highlighted the importance of having a strong team to help her through the race.

“My team supported me from the beginning, my team-mate Lise [Olivier] was with me at the end and she really helped me from the start of the race. She knew the route having done it previously so before each climb she would tell me when it will be and how hard it would be, so she helped me a lot mentally.”

Le Court also admitted that she didn’t know what to expect from the race going into it.

“I didn’t have any expectations about the race, I was just here to pace and have fun with my team-mates — I don’t know how I won but it worked out in the end but it was a really hard race,” she said.

Lise Olivier finished in second place while Juanita Venter came third.

Men’s results: Nolan Hoffman 02:25:16, Meron Teshome Hagos 02:25:16, Ryan Gibbons 02:25:17, Herman Fouche 02:25:17, Calvin Beneke 02:25:17, Tyler Day 02:25:17, Dirkie Nel 02:25:20, Richard Baxter 02:25:20, Olivier Le Court 02:25:21, Clint Hendricks 02:25:21

Women’s results: Kim le Court 02:58:00, Lise Olivier 02:59:50, Juanita Venter 03:03:12, Charlene Roux 03:06:10, Greer Wynn 03:06:11, Carla Oberholzer 03:06:11, Chane Jonker 03:06:12, Elizabeth Janse van Rensburg 03:09:34, Carmen Buchacher 03:09:44, Mandy Human 03:09:44.

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