Just days after winning the Tour de Limpopo, Gustav Basson – ProTouch Sports team’s U23 star – added another major scalp to the team’s season by winning the 25th-anniversary edition of the aQuellé Tour Durban presented by Bridge Fund Managers.
Basson, a medallist at the 2014 African Youth Games in Botswana, powered well clear at the finish at the Moses Mabhida Stadium ahead of Jason Oosthuisen (Barzani) and BCX’s multiple Tour Durban champion Nolan Hoffman (himself a multiple Cape Town Cycle Tour winner as well as 2011 African Games road champion) at the end of a race characterised by several concerted breaks in the cool and often drizzly weather.
The ProTouch and BCX outfits were central to all of the major moves made in the race, forcing the other challengers to ride across and send team members to bring the breaks back.
That was until a vital break, which came roughly 20km from the end of the 100km race, that saw Basson power away with BCX duo David Maree and Marc Pritzen, Bradley Potgieter (Vander Group) and Oosthuizen, with BCX’s sprinter Hoffman riding across to join the fast-paced break.
Coming into the double, right-hand lead-out ProTouch set up Basson beautifully, in the absence of Reynard Butler, and his drive to the line left no doubt about the outcome of the elite men’s race. Oosthuisen took second from Hoffman with another Barzani rider, Tyler Day, grabbing fourth.
‘I was in the move but was happy to just take it easy in the group and wait if I was needed to sprint, but I was happy to just wait for Reynard [Butler] for the finale,’ said Basson.
‘We ride as a team and we always have a few options, but depending on what happens during the race, we have to take responsibility and try and win it for the team,’ he added.
‘The team is phenomenal,’ he said.’We just ride as a unit. All the guys are great.’
Basson went with the first break, largely to try and stay clear of any potential mishap.’There was some nice rain early on but I wanted to stay out of the big peloton in case there was a crash,’ he said, citing a crash early into the southern freeway leg that took down two elite riders.
‘I’m so happy to take this win and get the ProTouch name out there,’ said Basson, who also came away with the U23 laurels and the King of the Mountain prize.
Basson is living his dream as a professional cyclist, having made a remarkable recovery from illness as a schoolboy that looked to have ended all athletic dreams the HTS Middleburg scholar might have had.
‘In 2009, I was diagnosed with Scheuermann’s Disease. I was told by doctors that I would no longer be able to participate in sport,’ recalls Basson. ‘It was during this time that I realised that you should always respect your body. I outgrew this disease and in 2012, I finally had the opportunity to fulfil my dream to become a professional cyclist.’
The women’s title fell to Demacon’s Kim le Court with young Tiffany Keep right on her wheel and Demacon team captain Lynette Burger Pieterse following in a tight group of riders including teammate Carla Oberholtzer, and Michelle Benson, S’annara Grove and Stacey Paul.
In the 55km cyclocross race, Local MTB pacesetter Andrew Hill (TIB) was locked in a fascinating duel with teammates Tyrone White and Andrew Johnson that was as much based in technical gear choice as it was on fitness and form.
Hill rode a conventional mountain bike in a race that he has won several times before but both White and Andrew Jonson opted for slick tyres, gambling on the 14 kilometres of off-road track in favour of faster times on the M4 freeway.
‘It was a colossal gamble!’ said White (Ballito Bicycle Co). ‘There were times on the sandy off-road sections when things got very, very sketchy, and when the second bunch got away from us I thought this was the stupidest thing I have ever done.
‘Once we were back on the road, we were able to catch up. To be fair, racing on the tar wasn’t a fair contest and we managed to get the better of him in the end sprint.’
Former Sharks wing Cedric Mkhize raced his fifth Tour Durban as a hand cyclist and raced on to the podium in the category formalised by sponsors Bridge Fund Managers.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
1 Gustav Basson 2:13:52
2 James Oosthuisen 2:13:52
3 Nolan Hoffman 2:13:53
4 Tyler Day 2:13:53
5 Shameeg Salie 2:13:53
6 Marc Pritzen 2:13:53
7 David Maree 2:13:53
8 Reynard Butler 2:13:54
9 Jayde Julius 2:13:57
10 Bradley Potgieter 2:13:58
1 Kim le Court 2:44:12
2 Tiffany Keep 2:44:13
3 Lynette Burger Pieterse 2:44:30
4 Michelle Benson 2:44:30
5 Carla Oberholtzer 2:44:30
6 S’annara Grove 2:44:31
7 Stacey Paul 2:44:31
1 Tyrone White 1:35:41
2 Andrew Johnson 1:35:43
3 Andrew Hill 1:35:43
4 Mboneni Ncgobo 1:35:54
5 Sanele Shabalala 1:35:54
1 Rouxda Grobler 1:52:58
2 Kirsten Evans 1:58:16
3 Paula Noah 1:58:17
4 Michelle Crichton 2:06:56
5 Helena Muir 2:07:01
Photo: Basson winning and the elite women’s lead group, by Anthony Grotes/Gameplan Media