Durban – Europcar's Ryan Gibbons brought the five-year Team Abantu reign at the aQuellé Tour Durban presented by Sunday Tribune to an end with a thrilling victory in the men's 105km race.
Racing in balmy clear and calm conditions the cagey elite men's peleton made few serious attempts to break away, and the one splinter group that adventured away contained representation from all five of the premier cycling teams in SA but was quickly brought back by the assertive Europcar team.
That set all the major teams up for the lead-out over the two tricky right-hand corners into the finish outside the Moses Mabhida stadium.
Defending champions Team Abantu looked well placed to send Rynhardt Butler to the line to defend his 2014 title, but when the call was made by captain Nolan Hoffman for the sprinter to assert himself, he wasn't able to respond quickly enough and the Europcar train took charge at the final turn, sending an elated Gibbons to the line just ahead of Westvaal's Tyler Day with triple champion Hoffman in third.
The 20 year-old from Randpark Ridge in Gauteng, was thrilled to win the 22 edition of the Durban classic and end the five years of dominance by the Durban-based Abantu outfit.
Team Abantu stalwart HB Kruger took the King of the Mountain hotspot up the M7, while MTB Qhubek'as Eritrean star Tesfom Issak Okubamariam took the Sprint hotspot outside Umhlanga.
Dean Edwards - General manager
We obviously very disappointed not to have won but it was always going to be a tall ask to win six years in a row. There was an opportunity missed for Rey today but thats racing and bunch sprints either go your way or they don't. Today it didn't go our way and now we just have to pull together and bounce back in the upcoming UCI races this week in KZN.