Hoffman does it by a split second
HCT Poste event finishline Photo 2019.jpg

DNS Sports sprinter Nolan Hoffman edged Ryan Harris by a split second to bag yet another 106km Herald Continental Cycle Tour victory at Pollok Beach in Summerstrand on Su n d ay. It took a couple of minutes for the winner to be announced as race officials decided the 2019 champion after Hoffman and Harris crossed the finish line neck-and-neck in two hours, 32 minutes and 14 s e co n d s .

Gustav Basson was third and credited with the same t i m e. Hoffman, 32, said the 2019 race was probably the hardest he had ever done. “If you were thinking of giving up then you had lost the race already,” the multiple former champion said. “I just had to put my head down and hope the guy in front of me was holding the wh e e l . “Fortunately, I managed to stay with Clint Hendricks because I know he is a strong rider in the crosswinds. “It worked out well.” Despite the win, the Capetonian said he was not 100% his best in terms of fitness, but it was just a matter of sharpening the pencil as all the work had been done. “I am happy with the way I was on the hills and the climbing,” Hoffman said. “That is a positive and it was a boost in the right direction for the upcoming races.” Reflecting on the race, Hoffman said: “It looked like it was going to rain in the beginning and then the mist just cleared and it was a sunny day. “About 20km into the race

there was no wind, nothing. Then all of a sudden it just came out of nowhere and it was blowing the guys to the side on the road. “PE never seems to disappoint – it can be rainy and then all of a sudden the sun is out and then the wind blows. “But that makes for really good cycling conditions and it makes the race exciting. “You always have to concen - trate on what you need to do. “If you are too far back and m i ss a breakaway, you can lose out. “I didn’t dare look back even once because when we came into the last kilometre, I

only saw 10 guys that were left in the group. That happened in a matter of 500m.” Tiffany Keep, 18, made a memorable debut by b e at i n g Nelson Mandela Bay’s Anriette Schoeman to take the women’s t i t l e. The KwaZulu-Natal rider

finished the race in 3:09:56, followed by Schoeman in 3:09:57. Third place went to Frances Janse van Rensburg, also in a time of 3:09:57. The Varsity College student has vowed to come back to defend her title in 2020. Asked what she had done right to win the race, Keep said: “I think I raced cleverly. “In the past, I used to sit in the front the whole way because I come from a mountain bike background and that is really the only tactic I know. “I think I applied a bit more of a tactical approach to this race today. “It was my first attempt at it.

and I am very happy with how it went. “I really didn’t know what to expect because I have never raced in this part of the country b e f o r e. “It was actually very nice for me to have a change of scenery and I really enjoyed racing along the coastline of PE with a good bunch of girls. “I am super stoked that my sprint paid off and I was able to cross the line first. “I’ll try my best to be back next year. I really enjoyed the race and I only have good things to say about this event. “I’ll definitely recommend it to everyone back home.”

Berna Walters
Spectators make the day for tour riders
Ladies Photo Finish 2019.jpg

One of SA’s premium road cycling races offered up another nail-biter as Nolan Hoffman claimed the 2019 Herald Continental Cycle Tour title in Nelson Mandela Bay on Sunday.

Despite the grey conditions, Hoffman, of Franschhoek, powered his way across the finish line in a three-way fight for the title, adding yet another wi n n e r ’s medal to his cabinet.

KwaZulu-Natal debutante Tiffany Keep, 18, was the first woman home. An elated Hoffman said: “PE never seems to disappoint. “Again, we had four seasons in one morning – I thought we were going to get rained on in the beginning and you couldn’t see more than 50m in front of you with the mist.

“But then it disappeared, the sun came out and towards the end the wind started. “I was so impressed to see the number of academy guys who were part of this race. “It ’s a chance for them to measure themselves up against the pro riders.” The race consisted of two distances, the 106km coastal classic and 55km pursuit. The field of almost 1,400 cyclists included many local and national entries, and a handful of overseas riders.

Spectators were out in full f o r ce. “The crowds were incredib l e, ” Hoffman said. “It ’s heartwarming to see them come out to support the riders. It’s a big motivator for us and pushes us to keep going.” Keep said she had heard only good things about the race before and enjoyed the s ce n e r y. “There are some good climbs, which I really enjoyed, some fast descents and flat sections, and to add to that you have the beautiful views to distract you from the suffering. “I will definitely recommend this race back home.” She described racing alongside the likes of Bay legend Anriette Schoeman as well as Yolande de Villiers and others as unreal, saying these were women she had looked up to as a junior cyclist.

The Herald and Weekend Post editor Nwabisa Makunga celebrated the successful hosting of the 34th Herald Cycle Tour. “We are grateful to the community of Nelson Mandela Bay as well as the cycling comm u n i t y, ” she said.

“To all our riders who came out, participated and enjoyed themselves, they are the real champions of this event.” Continental Tyre South Africa managing director Shaun Uys said the organising team had again outdone themselves. “Race organisation has been getting better year on year.

“The race village was filled with spectators and I can only see it getting better as the years co n t i n u e, ” Uys said.

Berna Walters
Du Toit cycles to maiden glory
The Herald Continental Cycle Tour MTB 80km Extreme Mens Winners 2019.jpg

Arno du Toit flew the Team DSV flag high in winning The Herald Continental Cycle Tour Mountain Bike Challenge at the Addo Polo Club on Sunday. Du Toit, racing in the absence of fellow DSV rider and defending champion Gert Heyns, finished in a time of two hours, 50 minutes and 29 seconds, as the first elite man h o m e.

He crossed the line ahead of Imbuko Giant rider Marco Joubert (2:50:30) and Nicol Carstens (2:55:33) in third. In the women’s race, Yolande de Villiers made it two wins in a row as she claimed another Herald Continental Cycle Tour Mountain Bike title, coming home in 3:04:02 – almost four minutes ahead of Sabine Spitz in second with a time of 3:07:40 and Anriette Schoeman in third in 3:19:32.

Speaking at the finish line, Du Toit said the win was the perfect result for him in what was his debut Herald Continental Cycle Tour event. “I’ve never raced here before. I have raced in the area, so I knew what to expect and my partner Gert Heyns helped me prepare mentally,” Du Toit said. “I also knew the Imbuko Giant guys had me outnumbered. They had three teammates here and it was clear from the start they were riding for him being a local boy. “He knew the trails and he had me under pressure on the single tracks too, so hats off to him on a good ride.” He said his competitors had made it hard for him in the beginning with a few attacks, but he managed to keep it steady through the Zuurberg Pass. “Halfway down the single track, Marco and I broke away. We had a nice big gap.

They could have made it a lot easier for Marco. “When Nicol and the other Giant riders backed off, I didn’t need to race that hard. He kept following my wheel, but if they had pushed harder from the back I would have had to ride harder in front. “So I could keep it steady and knew I had a good sprint, taking it to the line with co n f i d e n ce. ” Du Toit said he knew he had to try and cover every move made by his opponents. “With three riders on a flat route towards the end, if one rider had a gap, they could have forced me to do the work by myself, which happened. “But I was in the front by then, so I just had to cover all their moves and try to stay as fresh as possible to the end.”

Meanwhile, De Villiers said the route was quite flat with the climbs happening mainly in the first third of the race. “The guys in front made a bit of a gap and I was happy to go with them. Shortly thereafter, we lost Sabine. From there I just kept a steady pace and was happy to take the wi n , ” she said. “It ’s fantastic single track. The first section is open road, and then you climb Zuurberg Pass and from there it’s lots of single track over bridges, sharp turns, loose rocky climbs – ve r y beautiful.” Asked about her game plan, De Villiers said: “Due to the flattish nature of the course, I decided to go as hard as possible from the start. Luckily, I managed to get a gap over Sabine and managed to maintain that.”

Berna Walters
Cyclists lap up heat for MTB Race
The Herald Continental Cycle Tour MTB 80km Extreme Ladies Winners 2019.jpg

Not even the heat of the Addo sun was enough to deter riders as they tackled another successful The Herald Continental Cycle Tour Mountain Bike Challenge on Sunday.

More than 1,300 riders were in the starting lineup at the Addo Polo Club and hordes of fans were waiting at the finish. With temperatures hovering in the high 20s for most of the morning, riders nevertheless had few problems navigating the tough, technical course laid out around the Addo area.

The men’s 80km extreme race was won by Cycle Tour debutant Arno du Toit, while Yolande de Villiers made it two wins in as many years for the wo m e n ’s section. The Oudtshoorn resident said conditions in Addo mimicked that of her hometown and thus did not play a major role in her performance.

“I must say this event keeps getting better each year, from registration all the way to the set-up, the accommodation – everything was just perfect from a racer’s point of view, and I am certainly looking forward to returning next year.” Du Toit shared similar sentiments, saying he had a lot of fun out on the course, especially through the more challenging sections like the Zuurberg Pass . “I hope to be back next year, having more fun, and to defend my title.”

Continental Tyre events manager David van der Merwe said the event was well attended and even better in an organisational sense. “It might have been hot and dusty out there, but judging from the feedback we got, the riders enjoyed themselves.” He said he believed the race now had a place among some of the biggest MTB races in the co u n t r y.

The Herald and Weekend Post chief marketing officer Justin Peel said the 2019 field was the largest ever in the history of the race. “This race is not only about the elite racers, but from the 500m kiddies race, all the way up, what we are aiming for is to see a smile on their faces as they cross the finish line. “It’s not about the win or the time for everybody, but rather for the adventure and experience that comes along with it,” Peel said.

Berna Walters
Cycle Tour deadline coming up

EXCITEMENT is mounting with just one week to go until the official closing date of the 34th annual The Herald Continental Cycle Tour. 

Cyclists of all ages and levels of fitness are encouraged to enter the Mountain Bike Race taking place on 17 February at the Addo Polo Club, followed by a weekend of road racing on 23 and 24 February in Port Elizabeth. 

Make a day out of the much-anticipated race events by bringing the entire family to the respective race villages, which promise to be a hive of activity and fun during the two epic cycling weekends


The Mountain Bike Race Village will showcase the Sundays River Valley’s rich country hospitality with a traditional farmer’s market. Expect great local food, plenty of entertainment and an opportunity for the city kids to go on tractor rides and horse rides. 

The Race Village at Pollok Beach, which will be up and running for the road races on 23 and 24 February, will offer a unique experience to cyclists, spectators and supporters. 

This year’s Race Village will again include the Cycle Tour Lounge, where the races can be enjoyed in style with VIP parking, appetizing lunch and refreshments, a dedicated bar and comfortable seating.  

Other race village attractions include children’s activation zones – with jumping castles, face painting and balloon art. The Pollok Beach Race Village will also have a variety of food for sale – including several popular food trucks, a beer garden and coffee station. Live entertainment from local artists and DJs will ensure a vibey atmosphere to enjoy before, during and after the races. 

Creating a unique experience in the race villages is a key ingredient for the continued success of the cycling extravaganza, said The Herald Chief Marketing Officer Justin Peel. 

“The race villages will once again offer great entertainment for children and adults alike. The phenomenal atmosphere created on race day is something to experience first-hand. So, whether you’re entering to be competitive or to simply soak up the fun atmosphere – there is something for every rider,” said Peel. 

Peel encouraged spectators and fans to come out in their numbers to support the cyclists. Several professional cyclists described the festive Nelson Mandela Bay atmosphere as nothing they have ever experienced at any other cycling event.  

Registered cyclists will be able to collect their race packs on the following dates:

MTB Race:  Friday 15 February from 09:00 – 19:00 at Pollok Beach, Summerstrand; Saturday 16 February from 09:00 – 13:00 at Pollok Beach, Summerstrand; and Saturday 16 February from 18:00 – 19:00 at Addo Polo Club, Addo.

Road Races: Friday 22 February from 09:00 – 19:00 and Saturday 23 February from 09:00 – 13:00 at Race Village, Pollok Beach, Port Elizabeth.

Race entries close at midnight on 27 January. For more information or to enter, visit The Herald Continental Cycle Tour’s website at www.heraldcycletour.co.za

Berna Walters
Continental throws down gauntlet to Kings players

As part of the 2019 edition of The Herald Continental Cycle Tour, Continental Tyre South Africa (CTSA) has challenged the Isuzu Southern Kings to a unique inter-team race at the Corporate Team Challenge.

The corporate event will take place on Saturday 23 February, setting off from Pollok Beach in Summerstrand with the 23km road race leg heading to The Willows Resort and back, after which the 15km mountain bike leg takes riders on a route through the Nelson Mandela University Nature Reserve.

The relay race is hotly contested amongst corporates, and 2019 is sure to be no different as it evokes true sporting competitiveness and camaraderie. In this spirit, Shaun Uys, Managing Director of CTSA, has placed a challenge to the Kings that two of their players go head-to-head with himself and his racing partner Ian Langlands, Head of Sales and Marketing for CTSA.

“This is Continental’s third year as co-sponsor of The Herald Continental Cycle Tour, and we decided to up the ante for the Corporate Team Challenge by inviting our local Isuzu Southern Kings team to compete in the 2019 event,” Uys says. “It will be fantastic to have them participating in the Cycle Tour, but no challenge would be complete without a bit of a friendly wager to spice up the rivalry.

“Accordingly, aside from the obvious bragging rights, the winning team will get to nominate a proxy of their choice to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime flip in the iconic Red Bull racing plane flown by Port Elizabeth’s world-renowned aerobatics pilot, Patrick Davidson,” Uys adds. The aerobatic display will be one of the event’s major highlights at the main prizegiving taking place on Sunday 24 February at Pollok Beach.

Having achieved a record number of entries last year, this year’s 34th edition of The Herald Continental Cycle Tour – the second oldest cycling classic in South Africa and the biggest in the Eastern Cape – is likely to be bigger and better than ever. The action commences on Sunday 17 February with the popular mountain bike race staged in Addo, featuring categories for all levels of riders. It comprises the 500m Toddlers Dash, 5km Kiddies Challenge, 30km Leisure Challenge, 60km Adventure and 80km Extreme races.

Along with the Corporate Team Challenge, Saturday 23 February also sees the hosting of the junior road race events at Pollok Beach, featuring the 500m Toddlers Dash and 2km Kiddies Challenge.

On Sunday the 24th, it’s the chance for the road racers to prove their mettle, competing in either the 55km Pursuit or the tough 106km Coastal Classic.

Entries for The Herald Continental Cycle Tour close on 27 January 2019. For more information, visit: heraldcycletour.co.za

Berna Walters