Durban – While ‘roadies’ get their share of aQuellé Tour Durban presented by Sunday Tribune action on Sunday 26 April via the 105km Road Race and 45km Fun Ride, off-road cycling junkies can look forward to their fix as well at the exciting 55km Cyclocross event that incorporates the smooth newly-tarred M4 with some thrilling mountain biking trails.
KwaZulu-Natal’s mountain biking community is an ever increasing one and the inclusion of the 55km mixed surface challenge received an instant, rapturous response in its introductory year in 2013 and has gone on to become extremely popular.
“The Cyclocross event has always drawn good numbers,” said the event’s Route Manager, Andrew van Rensburg. “We have a very large MTB community in Durban and the surrounding areas so we thought that it would be great if we created an event that catered for that market as well and now that the cyclocross attracts such a large numbers, it is important that we keep it going annually.”
“Riders have generally really enjoyed the route in the past so we have tried to keep it as similar as possible for this year.”
A cyclocross event is unique in that it is not an out-and-out mountain bike event but instead sees riders tackle large sections of road racing while the course is littered with bursts of off-road track as well, something van Rensburg believes adds to the appeal of the event as ‘weekend warriors’ and regular mountain bikers are catered for alike.
The race initially follows the 45km Fun Ride course but offers riders 10km of off-road riding, an appealing factor to infrequent mountain bikers.
“The cyclocross event adds a different dimension to the aQuellé Tour Durban presented by Sunday Tribune and that is where the appeal lies. With a mixture of road and off-road riding, your occasional rider is drawn to the event as it doesn’t just involve technical single track and so becomes quite manageable for most.
“We also enjoy seeing a bit of interaction between the road cycling and mountain biking communities on the day. The two groups often stick to themselves but with all our events taking place on the same day, we are hoping that there will be a bit of interaction between the two.
“It made sense for us to add the cyclocross event to the schedule in 2013 and it has worked well since we have had it on the calendar,” he mentioned.
Despite the focus of the day being on the road races, that are again set to attract large numbers from all over the country, the 55km cyclocross event is likely to garner great interest once again.
Two-time defending champion Andrew Hill (TIB Insurance) is expected to be back again in 2015 and Van Rensburg is expecting a number of other top riders to be present as well.
“I am fairly sure that Andrew (Hill) will be back this year; he really enjoys the race and has won it two years in a row so I am sure that we will see him back this year!
“We had Tyron Bird and a number of other top riders with us for last year’s event and they were impressed with the course so we are expecting them back to add to the spice of the event again this year which we’re very grateful for as big name riders always add to the appeal of the event,” a confident Van Rensburg explained.