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Hillcrest rider aims for triple victory at aQuellé Tour Durban

Joanna van de Winkel is likely to be the centre of attraction this weekend as she aims for a clean sweep of victories, including a team event.

THE key to the Sandton City Cycle Nation team’s success will be one of their team members, Hillcrest resident Joanna van de Winkel, as the team is on a mission to grab the lion’s share of the glory at the aQuellé Tour Durban this weekend.

Sandton City Cycle Nation has a strong team presence aiming for multiple titles across multiple disciplines.

Van de Winkel is hoping to repeat her 2023 heroics with a double victory in Saturday’s 40km mountain bike event and Sunday’s 110km road race event. However, the former Olympian is also hoping to go one better this year by adding a third title with her teammates by winning the mixed team event in the 110km road race.

Last year, Van de Winkel was in a class of her own in both Saturday’s aQuellé Tour Durban MTB powered by Cycle Lab and Sunday’s road race and was able to enjoy a relatively simple double victory as she cruised to convincing victories in both disciplines – so much so, that the only female riders within eight minutes of her at the finish in either race were all on e-bikes.

Also read: Hillcrest Amashova winner shares details about her win

She was also an easy winner of the CMH Nissan Queen of the Mountain and CMH Renault Sprint Competitions in the road race.

This year, the talented Durban rider is looking to add to her overwhelming dominance, but she will need a bit of help from her friends on Sunday in the road race to add the team event to her potentially long weekend list of successes.

The introduction of the unique Gooderson Leisure Team Competition in the 110km event on Sunday opens up the possibility of some fascinating races within the race.

Five-person teams are entered with the times of the best four team finishers added to find a winner.

Mixed teams need two female entrants, and Van de Winkel and Lisa Bone ensure the Sandton City Cycle Nation squad fulfil those criteria, while Michael Rowland, Brian Brummer and Martin Hillermann complete the team.

Rowland was part of the three-man race-winning breakaway last year and finished third overall, so expect him to bank a good time. Add in Van de Winkel, and the two men, Brummer and Hillermann, with Bone, and it should be enough to see off any other mixed teams.

If Rowland hopes to secure a men’s victory, he will need to be at his best with last year’s runner-up, Brent Yelland, one of the likely challengers, along with the younger Yelland brother, Sean.

In the men’s mountain bike race, young Daniel van der Watt is the overwhelming favourite to retain his title, with his strongest challenge possibly coming from his coach and DriveTrain Academy teammate, Tyronne White.

Race registration is on Friday and Saturday at Cycle Lab Cornubia. All the off-road events – the MTB, gravel race and trail run – are on Saturday, April 20, near Cornubia Mall. The road races are on Sunday, starting and finishing at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Main road closures (Sunday, April 21, from 03:30 until 13:00)

  1. Masabala Yengwa Avenue: southbound lane from Kings Park to Sandile Thusi Road.
  2. Isaiah Ntshangase Road: closed in both directions from Masabala Yengwa Avenue to Ruth First Highway.
  3. Ruth First Highway (M4): closed in both directions from Sandile Thusi Road to uMdloti.
  4. M41: closed in both directions from M4 to Ridgeside Drive.
  5. Ridgeside Drive: northbound between off-ramp from M41 and on-ramp to M41.
  6. Sandile Thusi Road: the westbound lane will be closed from Ruth First Highway to Masabala Yengwa Avenue.
  7. Battery Beach Road: closed in the swimming pool area and no access to or from Masabala Yengwa Avenue.

The full route maps can be found at www.tourdurban.co.za/.

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