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ProTouch rider Gustav Basson powers clear to win the aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media.

Basson powered well clear at the finish at the Moses Mabhida stadium ahead of Jason Oosthuizen (Barzani) and BCX's multiple Tour Durban champion Nolan Hoffman 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, until a vital break that came roughly twenty kilometres from the end of the 100 km race that saw Basson power away with BCX duo of David Maree and Marc Pritzen, Bradley Potgieter (Vander Group) and Oosthuizen, with BCX's sprinter Hoffman riding across to join the fast-paced break.

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The men's elite peloton climbing towards Pinetown at the aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media.

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. Oosthuizen took second from Hoffman with another Barzani rider Tyler Day grabbing fourth.

"I was in the move but I 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," he said.

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A crash in the elite men's peloton on the Southern Freeway during the aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media
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 am so happy to take this win and get the ProTouch name out there," said Basson, who also came away with the Under 23 laurels and the King Of The Mountain prize.

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Coming and Going. Riders cross the Mdloti bridge during the aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media
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."

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Demacon's Kim le Court wins the women's title at the aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers. Jetline ActionPhoto/Gameplan Media

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.

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The tightly bunched women's peloton racing at the aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media
In the 55km cyclocross race, local MTB pacesetter Andrew Hill (TIB) was locked in a fascinating duel with team mates 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 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," said White.

Former Sharks winger Cedric Mkhize raced his fifth Tour Durban as a hand cyclist and raced onto the podium in the category formalised by sponsors Bridge Fund Managers.


ccs-62657-0-20028700-1525016437.jpgAnother massive field turned out to enjoy the cool weather at the aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

ccs-62657-0-25497400-1525016436.jpgAll shapes and sizes. There were several unicycles ridden at the aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media