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Who to watch at the 2015 Coronation Double Century

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Coronation Double Century is more than just a cycle race, it’s about camaraderie and team spirit.

(Cape Town, 17 November 2015Defending Coronation Double Century champions Giant Durbanville A will be back to challenge for an unprecedented fifth successive victory, but they’re unlikely to have it all their own way this coming Saturday, 21 November.

Giant has a good mix of big hitters, such as Martin Weseman and Stuart Marais, as well as experienced campaigners like David Garrett and up-and-comers including Matthew Beers will no doubt have their game plan ready for race day. 

Last year’s second place finishers, UK-based events company HotChillee, are back with a strong team full of local flavour, including Cape Town hotshot Nicholas Dlamini, as well as Raymond Cox and internationals Daniel Halksworth and Stefan Sahm. Also in the hunt for a podium spot will be Bluff Meat Supply, featuring KwaZulu-Natal based riders.

These teams are sure to go all out during the 202km course, which starts and finishes in Swellendam, but the final result is far from a foregone conclusion…

Team Private Client Holdings is a composite, which includes many pros from the old Westvaal Team. TAG Heuer Spartans By Harris is another composite team that could cause an upset on the day.  The outfit features the likes of Ryan Gibbons, Clint Hendricks and David Maree. Another possible dark horse is team LEADout.

“I would have said we would be favourites if we had our original team,” says team director Barry Austin, “but that is not to be. The idea behind the LEADout team is to ride CDC with current and ex-LEADout riders, and depending on the year and availability, we either race to win, or to have fun,” he says. “With Team MTN Qhubeka fielding its riders, we lost some ex-LEADout riders that would have joined us in our team. Then the National Team selected three of our riders from Lights by Linea to race Tour of Rwanda, leaving quite a dent in our lineup. Nevertheless, we will race our hearts out and aim for the podium.”

Indeed it is the team of MTN Qhubeka – who will leave fourth last, ahead of last year’s top three – that has everyone talking. While the team is tight-lipped over exactly who will start, word on the street is that the outfit will feature at least six riders from the pro team, as well as a few others, most notably Matt Trautman and SA Ironman sensation, James Cunnama.

Cunnama, who was a part of the HotChillee team that finished second last year, is both excited and nervous. “It’s different to my usual race day because it’s road cycling, but at the same time it’s also fairly similar in that it is a 200km time trial. Ironman is a 180-kilometre time trial,” he said. “However, I wouldn’t swim against Chad le Clos and I probably wouldn’t go into a running race against Usain Bolt, so I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing in a cycle race with the top riders in the world!” 

In the womens category, Team Velocity Sports Lab Ladies will look to complete their hat trick and perhaps better their 2014 time of 6 hours and 17 minutes. Giving them a run for their money will be team Flashies who have experienced mountain bike racers such as Ischen Stopforth, Fienie Barnard, Hanlie Booyens and Ann Harrison as the backbone of their team. Also look out for team Novus Ladies to make a solid charge. The leading women are starting earlier than in years past to give them a clearer road.

In the mixed category, Team My Training Day – which finished first in 2012 and third in 2013 –is gunning for mixed glory. Look for a challenge to come from Complete Cyclist Mixed, Urban Fitness Outdoor and Craft Racing.

While the first team to get six riders across the line in each category will be crowned champions, the Charles Milner Award goes to each full team of 12 riders, which finish inside the allocated 10 hours. 

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