Cycling: Tour Durban
An-Li Kachelhoffer had more than just personal ambitions on her mind when she made her move to win the Tour Durban in KwaZulu-Natal over the weekend. The former national women’s road champion, who joined Team Bestmed-ASG this year as leader and mentor to the younger riders, was also looking after the fortunes of teammate Zanele Tshoko. Kachelhoffer sent Tshoko up the road halfway through the race and then bridged the gap to form a two-man breakaway at the front that would ultimately give the team a one-two finish.
“I kept pushing Zanele to continue opening the gap between us and the bunch,” said the 29-year-old. “I could see she looked at me with these eyes that said she can’t push anymore, but I kept telling her to dig deeper and stick it out. “This weekend is something she’ll hopefully remember for a long time because I hope it’s had some positive impact on her.”
Kachelhoffer said the plan was never to pull the race apart, but rather to put Tshoko in a position to ensure the best possible result for the team. “My role is to help the younger riders change their style of riding, to push them to be more aggressive and to try something new. “I’ve been racing overseas for almost seven years so this year has been about giving back my knowledge.” She said she enjoyed working with the team in a mentorship role as the girls had a strong desire to improve.
“It’s important for me to encourage them and keep them motivated as we go forward.” Kachelhoffer said Tshoko was one of the riders who had shown vast improvement during her stint with the team. “She is a talent for the future. She’s come on in leaps and bounds in training and this weekend showed that.” Chante van der Merwe and Skye Davidson were two other riders about to make an impact, said Kachelhoffer.
“I love to see change and I can definitely see that on the team. The personal reward behind being a part of this is so satisfying.” She said her role extended beyond the technical aspect of racing as she also assisted her teammates with management issues. “Even though I’ve been with the team for a while now there are still a few learning curves, not just for me, but for everyone. “With my experience, I find it easy to approach management. Sometimes the younger girls don’t, so that’s where I can help.”
Kachelhoffer finished third overall in the five-day Bestmed Tour of Good Hope in March, her first major race with the team, and believed she had settled in well since then. “This year has been frustrating at times, but I definitely can say I’ve had a good year so far. I like the team and I’m really in a happy place.”