The powerful KwaZulu-Natal based Time Freight eTeam will spearhead the challenge for a local winner of the women’s race at the aQuellé Tour Durban, with no fewer than five of the outfit entered to tackle the popular 105km road race on Sunday, 24 April.
Led by 2014 aQuellé Tour Durban winner Lise Olivier, Vera Adrian, Zanele Tshoko, Carla van Huyssteen and Rozalia Kubyana add great depth and versatility to the Time Freight eTeam’s challenge as they go in search of a second crown at the event in three years.
“Vera (Adrian) is a very good sprinter, Zanele (Tshoko) has done really nicely for us and I like the beginning and will probably look to push things quite hard up the climbs early on, so we have quite a few cards to play on the day,” explained Olivier.
“We always look to race as a team and we communicate extremely well when we’re out there so we’ll take things as they come, see which of the other riders has the legs on the day and then plan accordingly,” she added.
The Time Freight eTeam’s quintet is likely to be the single biggest representation from any one women’s outfit at this year’s Tour Durban however Olivier is hesitant to accept the label of pre-race favourites on this basis alone.
“Many people believe that having numbers helps a lot but in fact this isn’t necessarily the case.
“We don’t like to race negatively and so we’ll each have to do our fair share of the work on Sunday while trying to race positively and hopefully we can then get the result we’re looking for.”
Having secured second place at the recent Emperor’s Palace Classic in Johannesburg and Mayoral Cycle Race in Polokwane, the Time Freight eTeam are eager to go one better at this weekend’s Tour Durban.
“It would be really nice to get the win this weekend after a couple of seconds!” said Olivier.
“All the girls are in really good form at the moment and, from a personal point of view, I head off to Europe to join the Bizkaia-Durango UCI Women's Team just ten days after Tour Durban so if I’m not in form by now then I’m in a bit of trouble,” she laughed.
While eager to put in a strong showing abroad, particularly at the Giro d'Italia Femminile – the biggest international women’s cycling event on the calendar, Olivier knows all too well the importance of a strong team effort at this weekend’s Tour Durban first.
“Tour Durban is always an important race for us!
“Apart from our sponsors, Time Freight, being based in KZN, it is a race that we have been part of for the past five years and one we really enjoy and so always want to do well at.
“Some girls may be at the Panorama Tour and a couple are already in Europe but I’m sure it will still be another good field this weekend with the Tour Durban being such a great event.
“We’re looking forward to it and it will be great to get back onto a more challenging, hilly course than what we’ve had the past few weekends,” added Olivier.
Aidan Nugent will also represent the Time Freight eTeam at this weekend's clash when he looks to take on some of the country's top elite men's athletes.
The 105km road race, 45km fun race and 55km cyclocross race take place on Sunday 24 April 2016. Late entries will be taken at registration at Suncoast Casino & Entertainment World from 10h00-18h00 on Friday, 22 and 10h00 to 17h00 Saturday, 23 April. More information can be found at www.tourdurban.co.za
Road closures and times for the 2016 aQuellé Tour Durban
Masabalala Yengwa (NMR): 05h30 -14h30
Margaret Mncadi Ave: 05h30-08h00
M4 South: 05h30-08h30
M7 Edwin Swales & M19 to Pinetown: 06h00-09h30
M19 Pinetown to Umgeni Road: 06h15-10h00
Inanda Road (Springfield Park): 06h30-10h15
Riverside Road: 06h30-10h30
M4 North & South bound from Argyle Road to Desainager Circle: 06h30-14h00