This year saw Nolan Hoffman sprint his way to his fifth consecutive victory and his seventh overall title at the Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic in a time of 2 hours, 22 minutes and 10 seconds.
The ladies race also saw a familiar face take the podium with Carla Oberholzer claiming her second consecutive win in the 106km race, despite some very tough, windy conditions on the ‘road of champions’ route between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.
“It’s a proud moment for me going into the history books as having the most Amashova wins under my belt. The Tsogo Sun Amashova has iconic status – it’s a big win and one of the big three on the racing calendar. Really big pressure for our BCX team every year with expectations for us to win this particular race. I was very proud of the team who stepped up and we took the race today by winning from a breakaway,” explained Hoffman.
Giving her take on today’s race and the conditions, Oberholzer said, “It was really great to take another win today for me. My team rode an absolutely phenomenal race tactically and we had some great teamwork out on the road. At the halfway mark of the race there was a split in the bunch and towards the end it was down to four of us with a sprint to the finish. I love the Tsogo Sun Amashova – it’s probably my favourite event on the calendar. The route is great along with the road closure – you always feel safe”.
While celebrations at the race finish were in full swing with live music and some of Durban’s best food and beverage vendors, the atmosphere along the route was just as festive as spectators kept an eye out for the new crop of elite riders competing in the Gran Fondo World Tour and the inaugural 160km race. The competition was palpable as cyclists vied for their spots on the podium. CEO and sports event organiser for the Gran Fondo World Tour, Dani Buyo said, “The addition of the Amashova as the final leg of the Gran Fondo World Tour’s ten events was a great success. The race logistics and organisation have been near to perfect and I am confident that our riders despite the challenging weather conditions have enjoyed a world-class race experience. Congrats to our overall winners in the men’s and ladies’ Gran Fondo World Tour series, Jonas and Louise.”
Tsogo Sun Amashova Race Director, Annie Batchelder added that overall they were delighted with the race today. It’s been a tough one – the wind really made it even more challenging for social and competitive riders on the famous Comrades route. “This new premier distance expanded the race’s profile and attracted additional overseas riders as well as several new elite riders who ordinarily would not have entered. We’ve had about 11 000 entrants to this year’s race which is similar to last year’s figures and our numbers on the international riders participating has also increased – which is likely related to our association with the Gran Fondo World Tour. This is an area where we’d like to grow the race in the future.”
As the competitive riders battled it out for a place in the top ten, the ‘spirit of shova’ came alive once more with the presence of hundreds of riders competing in the race to support a worthy cause. The amount of charities using the Amashova as a fundraising platform has grown exponentially in recent years and worthwhile charities such as CHOC, #MadeforMore and Hero777 were present in their endeavours. Last year’s tandem race winners, Bryan Cusack and Brennan Anderson, took on the gruelling 24-hour 600km ride from Secunda to Durban using the Amashova as the last leg of their feat to assist the Cows with their ongoing support for CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa. A year following his life changing surgery, heart and lung transplant patient Matthew Legemaate completed his first 35km race to raise awareness about organ donors through his Hero777 foundation. Other inspiring individuals competing included disabled sports ambassador Grant Oosthuysen who completed the 35km race in his wheelchair using only his toe to drive it.
Suncoast Executive Director, Mike Dowsley said, “It’s gratifying to see how the Amashova race has grown over the past few years. This really is a fantastic race with so much to offer elite and social riders and we are proud to be a part of it. Suncoast is the perfect venue for the Tsogo Sun Amashova post-race prize-giving and entertainment. We thank the cycling community for embracing and coming out in numbers to support this race.”
Yet another successful Amashova race bringing more than 10 000 riders and thousands of spectators to KwaZulu-Natal highlights sport’s ability to attract visitors to experience what the province has to offer. Sports Tourism expert Dr David Maralack commented, “South Africa is a sporty nation and world-class events like the Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic showcase the best of what we have to offer. We must continue capitalising on them to continue raising South Africa’s profile as a wonderful sports destination and as a result add value to the local economy.”
Annie concluded, “We are thrilled with this year’s successful Amashova event and are so grateful to our incredible team who year on year continue to produce a world-class event. We look forward to bringing yet another exciting and challenging edition in 2019.”
For more information on the Tsogo Sun Amashova, please visit www.shova.co.za.