Durban – Mountainbikers taking part in the aQuellé Tour Durban presented by Spur MTB race on 27 April will be the first to enjoy a number of innovations, thanks to breakthroughs in negotiations between the organisers and Dolphin Coast landowners.

Course designer Ian Wilson has been working on reshaping and improving the popular course that starts and finishes at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping Boulevard, taking on board a lengthy wish list from the races regulars.

The first is the inclusion of a new river crossing at the Mdloti river that has been talked about for several years. "Group 5 are working at the bridge and have been really supportive in allowing us to stage a river crossing there," said Wilson.

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The site of the new river crossing at the Mdloti river on the aQuellé Tour Durban presented by Spur MTB race on 27 April.

Gameplan Media

Riders entering the 45km race will also be able to enjoy the rare thrill of massive passenger jets low overhead following permission being granted by the Dube Tradeport and ACSA to use single track that skirts the new King Shaka airport.

The 45km section, which Wilson says will still be fundamentally a fast course, now includes a new steep hillclimb that he says will become the provinces "Alp D'Huez."

Amongst the many innovations to the popular route are 3km of new single track through the Umhlanga College grounds which will be used by riders in the 10km, 20km and 45km races.

"The 10km and 20km routes have been designed with novices and newcomers to the sport in mind, while the 45km leg has been spiced up with several new challenges that I am sure will go down well with the experienced riders," said Wilson.

"Most of the race is over farm roads so it is pretty wide, flat and fast, which is what makes it appealing for a lot of MTB riders," said Wilson.

With the race being held on a public holiday - Friday 27 April - a big crowd is expected, and Wilson has also been working at ironing out issues caused by the growth in the MTB field last year.

"There was an issue with the 20km and 45km routes crossing at a particular water point last year," said Wilson. "This was one of the first things we corrected in the route design for 2012."

The aQuellé Tour Durban presented by Spur takes place on 27 and 29 April 2012. Normal entries close on 22 April at 22h00, after which entries will be taken at a late entry penalty. More information can be found at www.tourdurban.co.za

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The 20km and 45km MTB routes for the aQuellé Tour Durban presented by Spur.