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Hoffman helps himself to a third win in team swansong
- Updated: April 29, 2013
Nolan Hoffman bagged a hat trick of wins in the aQuell├® 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, a former track world championships silver medallist and All Africa Games road race winner, 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 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 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 am 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 lot.
“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 cycling initiative.
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 style.
1 Nolan Hoffman 2hr 20min 31sec
2 Herman Fouche 2:20:31
3 Christoff van Heerden 2:20:31
4 Dusty Day 2:20:31
5 Ryan Felgate (Under-18) 2:20:31
6 Rian Gouws (Under-23) 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
1 Lynette Burger
2 Marissa Stander
3 Leandri du Toit
4 Anri Coetzee
5 Cashandra Slingerland
1 Rourke Croeser
2 Andrew Hill
3 Nick White