Spectators make the day for tour riders
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.