Perfect race conditions set the stage for a stellar race day at the 40th Cape Town Cycle Tour. – By Bicycling Editors
Team BCX’s Nolan Hoffman raced to his third Cape Town Cycle Tour title on Sunday, 11 March after a thrilling sprint to the finish.
A group of five riders went up the road shortly after the start. Craig Boyes (Investec-Songo-Specialized), Steven Van Heerden (BCX), Myles Van Musschenbroek (Pro Touch), Nicol Carstens (Alfa Bodyworks/Giant) and Chris Cronje (Alfa Bodyworks/Giant) worked well together and built up a gap that stretched up to three minutes at one stage. The five managed to stay away for the majority of the race and were reeled in only up the Suikerbossie climb, after a strong effort spearheaded by Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Continental outfit who had missed out on the break.
It was a bunch sprint finish, but Hoffman pipped his opponents to the finish, followed by New Zealander Sam Gaze – who also won the UCI MTB World Cup race in Stellenbosch yesterday – and Team ProTouch Reynard Butler came in third.
“The team was incredible today,” Hoffman commented after the finish. “This has been our biggest objective for the year and going away with the win was just incredible. The boys rode out of their skins and I’m just really pleased how it all played out,” he said, explaining that after the catch they knew exactly how to take it home.
“We played poker face game,” he said. “We had Steven van Heerden in the break, so we knew we didn’t have to work too hard in the bunch.”
“The DiData boys panicked because they didn’t have anyone in front and when they brought it back on Suikerbossie we knew exactly what to do in the last 10 kilometres.”
BCX controlled the bunch through Camp’s Bay and the tricky twists and turns through Clifton and Sea Point to go into the final sprint perfectly positioned.
“Steven took us right into the final 500 metres and then Clint (Hendricks) – the 2016 defending champion – lead from there. He knows exactly where to go, knows every metre of this finish and he took me to about 180 metres to go. From there all I had to do was go flat-out to the finish. Very happy it worked out”
The 76km Women’s Elite Invitational started at 06:15 in Glencairn and unlike the men’s race, was no one-horse race. Anriette Schoeman and Carla Oberholzer took turns leading the bunch of women around the peninsula, but ran out of steam when it came time to sprint for the finish. The final stretch of racing ended up in a bunch sprint to the finish, with Mauritian Kimberley Le Court De Billott (Demacon) taking the overall win in 02:11:50, followed by Adrian Vera and Matthee Maroesjka.
“Wow, such an emotional day,” Le Court, who hails from Mauritius said after the finish. “This is the one race that everyone wants to win, I’ve had a year of podiums and it’s great to finally stand on the top step,” she said.
Le Court couldn’t say enough about how good it was for the women to have their own race and how positive it was for the team tactics and racing.
“My team mate Lynette (Burger), was in the break from the start and that was exactly as we had planned,” she said. “The other teams and riders worked hard to bring that break back and then from there the sprint played out almost exactly as we had planned in our team meeting the night before,” she said.
“I’m so happy and I think we showed that we deserved to have our own race.”
1. Nolan Hoffman: 02:37:30
2. Sam Gaze: 02:37:31
3. Reynard Butler: 02:37:31
1. Kimberley Le Court De Billott: 02:11:50
2. Adrian Vera: 02:11:50
3. Matthee Maroesjka: 02:11:50