The organisers of the aQuellé Tour Durban have confirmed that the road races on November 28 will include dedicated road races for the elite, U23 and junior licensed riders, and the competitive older riders keen to race against their peers.
With the road racing calendar substantially juggled to try to allow traditionally important events to return to normal after the lengthy period of lockdowns and bans on public sporting events, the two-day aQuellé Tour Durban programme moves into late spring, with the newly introduced MTB event taking place on Saturday, August 27.
The organisers have insisted that the racing professionals and serious amateurs will be catered for in a new format that will see the elite races start early and race to near completion before the recreational riders take to the M4 under the full road closure.
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The elite men’s road race will comprise 101km, starting at 5.45am with a fast start lap to the Swapo road interchange before returning to the start/finish area at Moses Mabhida Stadium for the first of two 45km laps on the M4 up to the Mdloti turning circle and back.
The elite women’s race will start after the men and be on the same route, while the junior women will race 90km, in line with international regulations.
The age group riders in the veteran and masters classes will also get to race, but in a single batch starting just behind the elite men.
Once the last of the racing riders have started their last laps of the M4, the big crowds expected for the recreational 135km, 90km and 45km rides will be set on their way, with the first batch expected to leave at about 8am, but this will be dependent on the elite races.
“I think it is a fantastic idea to make a ‘The Race’ race, separate from the recreational event,” said Jan-Harm van der Merwe from Team VanDM Music.
Race director Alec Lenferna said that he was encouraged by the enthusiastic response from many of the elite licensed riders, even though the race falls on the same weekend as the Double Century in the Western Cape.
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He added that by allowing the licensed elites sole use of the total road closure on the M4 early in the morning, the social riders would be starting a little later than normal.
“It will be warmer than usual at the end of November, but we anticipate that the M4 lap to Mdloti and back will be really pleasant riding mid-morning,” said Lenferna.
“The theme for this year’s race is #CelebrateTogether as we just enjoy being back out on a bike and riding one of the most well-loved stretches of freeway in Durban,” he added.
Lenferna said in future the race would be staged in mid-August, fitting into an ideal gap in the national classics calendar, with the next aQuellé Tour Durban slated for August 13 and 14 2022.
More information can be found at www.tourdurban.co.za