High-speed circuit racing featuring some of Africa’s finest cycling talent hits the Durban beachfront on Saturday with the third and final leg of the Engen Cycle in the City series.
Following successful events in Pretoria and Cape Town, the innovative series culminates with another fast-paced criterium showdown, putting rider’s tactical nous, technical ability and sheer speed against each other in a compact ‘arena’.
Expect to see the country’s top men’s road racing teams in action – including Europcar, Team Bonitas and Abantu Cycling – as they vie for the title of ‘Street King’ in their 50-minute race. Bonita’s riders HB Kruger and Dylan Girdlestone landed the coveted crown at the Pretoria and Cape Town events respectively. Fans can expect Bonita’s rival teams to pull out all the stops to spoil their beachfront party and prevent them from landing a clean sweep of titles.
Kruger said: “We have a couple of cards to play this weekend with Herman Rabie and Clint Hendricks that can win the sprint and of course Dylan who has proven he can ride away. I am the trump or the opportunist card this weekend, putting our team in the pound seat.”
The Abantu Cycling team is Durban-based and will be eager to give hometown fans a reason to party longer into the night. It’s been a year of impressive results for Abantu and they’ll have key sprinter Nolan Hoffman back after a recent track racing stint in the Netherlands.
Hoffman has won both the Cape Town Cycle Tour and the Durban Amashova titles this year and is in superb form ahead of this weekend’s Cycle in the City event.
With a large number of its riders being KwaZulu-Natal based, the Time Freight Velo Life team is expected to dictate the pattern of the women’s race. Lise Olivier and Candice Neethling finished in the top five at the Cape Town round. This time they will have the luxury of additional teammates in their quest for the ‘Street Queen’ crown. A beady eye will, however, have to be kept on the crop of rising young local stars.
While the main attraction will be the professionals, the circuit racing festival also has categories for amateurs. This gives them an opportunity to experience the adrenaline-rush of tight elbow-to-elbow racing on a traffic-free course. In addition, spectators can also expect live music by chart topping four piece band Monark, as well as kiddie’s entertainment, and delicious food from the I Heart Market, all at no entry cost.
The Durban circuit is flat and the racing surface will comprise an equal split of tar and brick paving. The real challenge for the riders will be the fact that there are both left and right turns to negotiate on the figure-of-eight format course, including a hairpin-tight right turn at the northern end.
Riders will get to within metres of the Indian Ocean along Snell Parade in front of the Durban Country Club. With a stiff North Easterly wind predicted, the experienced racers are likely to use this to their advantage.
Engen Cycle in the City – Durban
Saturday 8 November 2014
12h10: Street Rebels (16–18 years) – 30 minutes + 1 lap
12h50: Vintage Men (50 years and older) – 30 minutes + 1 lap
13h30: Engen Pedal (Engen staff) – 20 minutes + 1 lap
13h30 Crazy Cranks (Dress-up fun race) – 20 minutes + 1 lap
14h00: Veterans (30–49 years) – 30 minutes + 1 lap
14h40: Fixie Flatbox (fixed gear, no brakes) 20 minutes + 1 lap
15H10: Mine Me & Minions (15 years and under) – 20 minutes
15h30: Street Queens (Elite, Junior & Veteran women) – 30 minutes + 1 lap
16h10: Street Kings (Elite & Under-23 men) – 50 minutes + 1 lap
18h30: Sunset Cruise (All invited/fun pedal) 30-40 minutes
For more information visit www.engencycling.co.za