Maree and Van de Winkel crowned Tour Durban champions

Grobler and Yelland power to aQuellé Tour Durban MTB wins
Statement from aQuellé Tour Durban race organiser
Grobler and Yelland power to aQuellé Tour Durban MTB wins
Statement from aQuellé Tour Durban race organiser

Maree and Van de Winkel crowned Tour Durban champions

David Maree and Jo van de Winkel emerged as the 2022 aQuellé Tour Durban champions on Sunday when they secured contrasting victories on the 106km road race that started and finished at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Team DMS’s Maree needed a tight sprint finish to edge out multiple winner and Aluwani Pro Cycling Team star Nolan Hoffman in the men’s race. In contrast, Van de Winkel of Sandton City Cycle Nation used her climbing prowess to power away on the only significant climb of the race and solo for the final 30km to claim a two-minute victory over Sonica Klopper and Cherise Willeit in the women’s race, with the chasing bunch a minute further back.

While the manner in which the duo claimed their 2022 titles was vastly different, they were both beneficiaries of some good team work which set them up for the wins.

In the men’s race, the undulating opening 50 kilometres from Durban to beyond La Mercy and back saw a few failed breakaway attempts until DSM’s Nick James got a gap as they returned to Durban.

He was able to build a lead of more than a minute as they approached the M7 climb but on the way up the hill towards Pinetown, the bunch reeled him in and as they all turned to drop down the M13 back into Durban, it was clear the 25-odd riders left in the peloton were going to be involved in a bunch sprint for the win.

Maree’s careful plan for the finish sprint played out perfectly and he emerged from the pack to edge out Hoffman with Flavio Venceslau, Damon Fouchee and Sheldon Maree rounding out the top five.

“It has been a long time and I love this race,” said Maree shortly after finishing. “With full road closure this is one of the top races in SA so I am really happy to win it. I have always had a great relationship with Durban and after being with a Durban-based team for five or six years I love the aQuellé Tour Durban.

“As a team we had a plan going in. We wanted to make the racing a bit aggressive early on but we were facing a block head wind so we decided we had to try and start hitting it after we turned. There were some really, really fast guys in this group – Nolan Hoffman, Reynard Butler and Clint Hendricks, so we knew we had to put the pressure on early and try and get rid of them.

“We had Nick (James) go away and that was perfect for us but we caught him at the top of the M7.

“I know Nolan and Reynard quite well after we were teammates for many years and so I know their game plans, but they did get a bit unlucky today with Reynard’s chain slipping as we started the sprint.

“I always focus carefully on the sprint finish and plan everything, so I knew exactly where I needed to go and as soon as I jumped, Reynard’s chain slipped.

“It was great to win for the team. We have had a lot of seconds and thirds this year and the win has been elusive so it is great to get that big win at last.”

For Van de Winkel things also played out according to a perfect plan.

“We were controlling things with one of our riders up ahead in the break until the climb, and that was where I knew my job started. I rested until the start of the climb where I attacked and went away with one other rider.

“I am not a sprinter so the team did not want me to take anybody with me to the line so I sat on for a while and then attacked. I knew that because I am not a sprinter I needed to get away on the climb and I made sure it stuck.”

From there, Van de Winkel just settled into a hard rhythm and built a steady lead that she was able to hold from Pinetown, through the city and back to the stadium.

More than 2 000 entrants took to the streets around Durban on Sunday in the 106km, 90km and 45km events.

Summary results – 2022 aQuellé Tour Durban

Men 106km
1 David Maree 2:29:37
2 Nolan Hoffman 2:29:37
3 Flavio Venceslau 2:29:37
4 Damon Fouchee 2:29:37
5 Sheldon Muller 2:29:37
6 Warren Moolman 2:29:37
7 Kimhan van der Merwe 2:29:37
8 Kieran Correia 2:29:37
9 Reynard Butler 2:29:37
10 Unathi Nxumalo 2:29:37

1 Jo Van de Winkel 3:06:56
2 Sonica Klopper 3:09:13
3 Cherise Willeit 3:09:13
4 Bridget Theunissen 3:09:17
5 S’annara Grove 3:10:15
6 Hayley Smith 3:10:15
7 Angelique Slabbert 3:10:15
8 Anna Clemons 3:10:15
9 Michel Botha 3:10:15
10 Monique Slabbert 3:10:15