Giant killer Stedman ready to impress at his hometown major

Newcastle DeRailers win group entry to Tour Durban
aQuellé Tour Durban homecoming for van de Winkel

Giant killer Stedman ready to impress at his hometown major

After stunning the elite cycling community by winning the 947 Ride Joburg classic on the weekend, Kloof-based racer Travis Stedman is eager to bring his rich vein of form to his local major and turn around his run of bad luck at major KZN events.

Superbly supported by his Shesha Fuels Racing team mates, Stedman shook the star-studded elite field by taking the title as the team executed it’s strategy flawlessly to take him to the line.

“It felt amazing to be on the top step of the podium in the stadium,” said the 19 year old. “As a team it has felt like we have been knocking on the door, and getting a lot of seconds and thirds.

“We set out a clear plan the day before and everything just seem to go according to that plan on the day,” said Stedman. “It was the first time we were racing in front of our new sponsor, which made it even more special for the team.”

Still euphoric from the win Stedman has returned to his Durban home to prepare for the 101km aQuellé Tour Durban on Sunday, hoping his team can pull off another major victory as they size up the run-in to the end of the jam-packed 2021 season.

While he rests and prepares for his hometown major, the rest of the team will be competing at the Coronation Double Century in the Western Cape and flying to Durban overnight to be ready for the aQuellé Tour Durban assault.

Stedman will be looking to use his knowledge of the M4 circuit course to end a run of disappointments in his home city, having been hampered by technical problems during the Amashova and never really racing a complete race at the aQuellé Tour Durban.

“I raced my first Tour Durban as an Under 14, and somehow I have never really had luck in this race. This year I feel I know my strengths a lot better and I am really looking forward to Sunday’s race,” said Stedman.

While many riders felt frustrated by the lack of proper racing during the last two years of lockdowns, Stedman has benefitted significantly from time spent training and racing abroad.

“There you can race three times in a week, and when you have an off day you can rest and come back again.

“That way you get to know how far you can push yourself and learn where your limits are.

“I feel so much more comfortable racing in the lead bunch now, and I believe that confidence has come from the time I spent racing overseas,” he said.

“More importantly as a team we are working so well together,” he added. “We trust each other, like you do when you all commit to doing something.”

He said that the team had the ability to take good decisions during races, guided by their manager and their seasoned pro Dylan Girdlestone, who will be looking to the next two weeks of racing as a memorable sign-off on his racing career.

Stedman understands his role in the team, and this weekend hopes to bring his familiarity with the M4 to the team’s arsenal as well.

“I am down there training every single weekend, and I have friends who stay in Ballito which makes it even easier to get onto the M4.”

“We have two weeks left of the season, ending with the Tour de Cap, and it would be amazing to keep up this great run of form,” he said.