With only days to go until the 20th Coronation Double Century team cycle challenge is set to take place in Swellendam, top teams have thrown down the gauntlet and made their intentions clear for Race Day on Saturday, 24 November.
Nu Water team captain Hannes van der Walt, who also captained last year’s winning Cape Town Market / Noble Energy team, said they are definitely going for another win this year. “We have some high-performance riders in our team this year, including 2012 Amashovashova winner Johan Rabie and Luthando Kaka, Chris Jennings and James Perry. We’ll tackle the route in two stages, namely two 100km sprints!”
Focus / Craft team captain David Garrett is confident his team, who all hail from Cape Town, can set the pace on Saturday. “We’ve picked six of the best riders from two of the top teams from last year, and we’re very pleased to welcome Johann van Zyl to the team. We aim to be the carrot on the road for the Nu Water guys, even if we have to pull a few rabbits out of our hats to clinch victory!”
In the mixed team category, Mr Price KZN’s spokesperson Mike Viljoen is confident of a win this year. “We have a very strong team that has performed well this year, including some big SA cycling names. Only one of our riders is a Coronation Double Century novice, but even she is a top ten elite rider, so we have full confidence in the team’s performance over the long distance ride.”
Viljoen adds that the changes to the rules and race format this year has been made with good reason. “We are aware that there are a few interesting and rather significant changes this year, and intend to work around them to the best of our ability in order to claim victory in the mixed category.”
Vodacom Ladies team captain Hanlie Booysen is upbeat and excited about the changes. “We believe the organisers have done the right thing by including the neutral feed zone. We are also looking forward to not having to tackle the stream of support vehicles over the first half of the route, making the ride a lot less dangerous and making passing a lot easier.”
The captain of the 2011 female category adds that they are looking forward to enjoying the team spirit and camaraderie that defines the Coronation Double Century. “We are on the lookout for some stiff competition from the Velocity Sports Lab Ladies and Coroangels teams, but for us the result is not as important as the amount of enjoyment we have. We plan to finish in a good time and do our best, and if we come out tops it’s an added bonus,” says Booysen.
She is keeping a wary eye on the weather though. “Our primary concern is that the weather holds! We’ve been extremely lucky with the weather over the years, but I believe there is rain and wind predicted for Race Day, which could make the ride a bit more challenging.”
The 202km team race will start and finish in the scenic town of Swellendam on Saturday 24 November. For more information about the Coronation Double Century, please visit www.coronationdc.co.za