Durban - Nolan Hoffman bagged a hat trick
of wins in the aQuellé Tour Durban cycle race, providing the perfect swansong
for his Tasol GT team, 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 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
teammate 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 teammates that he
would have to stop to change wheels with Tasol GT colleague Myles van
"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 teammates were well set up
for the lead-out going into the final two right handers into the finish at
Moses Mabhida Stadium but 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 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.
"It was great to finish off our time
in these team colours with a good final swansong," Hoffman added. "We
are a very determined bunch of guys, committed to working together, so this
result is really special."
The team immediately announced plans to
stay together, despite their sponsorship from Tasol Solar Systems expiring at
the end of the month. They have formed a "people's team" called
"Abuntu" with they hope will be sustained by fans buying kit and
membership of their team.
Runner-up Fouche was gracious in defeat,
despite an immediate protest from his team over the role played by the
motorcycle in the finish straight.
"That's racing!" said Fouche, who
warmly congratulated Hoffman on his win. "It was a great hard race and he
took his chance well."
The Bonitas team management was pushing for
a "no result" outcome.
Junior Ryan Felgate took the U18 honours
with a superb fifth place overall, while his ASG teammate Rian Gouws grabbed
the Under 23 yellow jersey one place further back.
Dylan Girdlestone (Westvaal BMC) scooped
the King of the Mountain prize at the 27km mark, with Johan Rabie (Tasol GT)
snatching the sprint hotspot at the 52km mark.
The women's race proved to be an emphatic
one for the Momentum Toyota team captained by seasoned pro Lynette Burger, who
ended a run of unusually poor form with a solid victory over Marissa Stander
(Bestmed), with two of her Momentum Toyota teammates 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.
"I really needed this one!"
gushed Burger. "I have been really battling to put together results, and
my form has just not been there, so to get this one and retain my title means a
"I am having such fun with this team,
teaching them all I can about racing and team dynamics. They are young and have
big dreams, and it is absolutely amazing to see how much they have all
developed as riders in such a short space of time," she added.
The new 55km cyclo-cross event was won by
Kargo Pro MTB Under 23 star Rourke Croeser from the perennial performer Andrew
Hill (TIB Insurance).
eThekwini mayor Councillor James Nxumalo
was part of the 45km race with key roleplayers driving the cities cycling
initiatives, each riding one of the special bikes developed for the urban
The massive field of over 4000 riders
taking part in the three races lapped up riding in superb warm and windless
weather conditions that showcased the city's landmarks in picture postcard
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
3.Leandri du Toit