HILL OPPORTUNISTIC AFTER CROESER DROPOUT
By: Gift Nyamapfene
Andrew Hill hopes to win the 2014 aQuellè Tour Durban cyclocross after defending champion Rourke Croeser announced his absence in the event to be held on Monday.
Hill finished behind Croeser last year.
“Rourke not being there is a far better scenario for me because now he and Travis Walker won’t be able to work together to try and rub off the rest of us, which can happen on a course like this one which is pretty flat and fast,” said Hill.
“Either way though, I’m up for the challenge,” he said.
Croeser, who is ranked 9th in the world for XC Under 23 racing will miss the popular 55km blend of road and mountain biking due to his attendance of a funeral in Empangeni later in the day.
“It would have been great to come back and try to defend my cyclocross title this year,” said Croeser.
“Stu (Berry) and his team also always put on such a great event so it’s disappointing not to be back in the mix this time,” he said.
Hill has been tipped as the pre-race favourite because of his 2012 hat-trick victories in a 45km mountain bike race that preceded the cyclocross race.
“It would be great to get a first Tour Durban cyclocross victory under my belt. You do not mind losing to Croeser but it would obviously be nice to try go one better this time around though,” said Hill.
The cyclocross event combines the speed of road racing with three short loops of off-road adventure. Participants in the race are anticipating further popularity for the contest.