Crowds turn out to cheer on competitors

 TIME TO CELEBRATE: Enjoying the moment is The Herald Continental Cycle Tour winner Clint Hendricks, centre, with Steven van Heerden, right, who finished second, and Greg de Vink, who came third Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

TIME TO CELEBRATE: Enjoying the moment is The Herald Continental Cycle Tour winner Clint Hendricks, centre, with Steven van Heerden, right, who finished second, and Greg de Vink, who came third Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

HUNDREDS of cycling fans filled the seats at the Race Village as The Herald Continental Cycle Tour rolled through Nelson Mandela Bay at the weekend.

Under sunny skies, spectators helped push their favourite riders to the finish as they lined the streets off Marine Drive.

The Cycle Tour Race Village had everything from jumping castles to a beer tent, food trucks, live music and some displays by SA trial mountain biker Dylan Victor to keep fans entertained.

Now in its 33rd year, one of the Eastern Cape’s iconic road races saw more than 1000 riders take to the course for both races. Team BCX showed their class by bagging three of the top five finishing spots.

Women’s 106km winner Maroesjka Matthee said racing in the Bay was always enjoyable and the crowd was always there to motivate racers.

“It’s amazing – wherever you went, every left and right turn, there were so many people out on the course cheering us on.

“The crowd really comes together as a community and it’s great for us as racers,” she said.

Friends Helder Silva and Armin Brandle, who participated in the veterans’ category, said they had enjoyed the day out on the course.

Both men used the race as part of their training for the Ironman Africa Championship in April.

The Herald and Weekend Post editor Brett Horner commended the organisers for another successful race.

“We are not trying to be the biggest race in the country and we know the race calendar is getting quite choc-a- block.

“So we try to create a unique experience – our Race Village is central to that both here and in Addo for the mountain bike leg.”

Horner said it was a family race with a lot of Bay riders participating. “The numbers looked pretty good again this year and we would like to keep them ticking up.”

He also thanked sponsors Continental South Africa for their continued support in making the race a success again this year.

Sales and marketing director Ian Langlands, who was also part of the race, said the partnership with The Herald Cycle Tour was now in the second of a three-year partnership and had been fantastic so far.

“Conti has been involved in cycling all around the world, like the Tour de France and the cycle tour here in the Eastern Cape – it’s been a really awesome experience,” he said.

Amir Chetty chettyam@tisoblackstar.co.za