Nolan Hoffman (Team Abantu) defended his Cape Town Cycle Tour title in superb fashion on Sunday, 08 March, as he raced over the finish line in a sensational time of 01:01:49 in this year’s 47km ‘Show You Care Solidarity Ride.’
Thousands of riders dressed in red to support those affected by the tragic fires burning on the mountains around Cape Town over the past week. The shortened circular route was a celebration of Cape Town’s fighting spirit and a salute to the Volunteer Wildfire Services, Sanparks Fire Fighting initiatives and other volunteers for their heroic efforts.
Crossing the line in an intense sprint, Hoffman held off stiff competition from silver medallist, Tyler Day (Team Westvaal) and third placed, Brenton Jones (Team Drapac). International professional cyclists, Team Etixx-Quick Step’s Mark Cavendish and main lead-out man, Mark Renshaw, competing in their first South African race, could not outsprint Hoffman.
Clocking speeds up to 74km/h, the leading peloton raced down the M3 in good weather conditions. With 10km to go, Team Biogen’s Kevin Evans went on the attack, establishing an eight second lead ahead of the elite men’s peloton. The field chased him down, and caught him with 5km to go, allowing Hoffman the chance to break away at the end and cross the line first.
Ecstatic to hold off competition from top international and local riders to secure his second consecutive Cycle Tour win, Hoffman praised his “flawless” team. “The week before the race we dissected every kilometre from Hospital Bend so that we were well prepared. Today we bided our time and stayed close to the front throughout the entire route,” he said.
“It was only 47km, but it was the hardest 47km. There was no place to recover, and before I knew it, there was another hill. The downhills were fast, and I was really concerned about Hospital Bend because I knew it was going to make for a really fast finish. I’m proud of the way the guys rode today – they stuck to the tactic and executed it to perfection. My teammates were fantastic.”
Commenting on the Cavendish threat, Hoffman said, “He didn’t come here with a full team, which definitely worked in our favour. With 500m to go I just put my head down and went as fast as I could. I am over the moon with my win today.”
The elite ladies raced in their own start group for the first time this year, and Lynette Burger (Team Activate Demacon), who gave birth nine months ago, took top honours in a time of 01:17:52.
Last year’s winner, Cherise Stander (Team RECM) raced ahead of third place, Maroesjka Matthee (Team Bestmed ASG) to claim the silver medal in her 16th Cape Town Cycle Tour.
On her first Cape Town Cycle Tour win, Burger said that, despite the dramatic route change, this year’s event was a thrill. “We set out to do 109km, but the distance doesn’t matter to me because it is still a race. We went fast and hard from the start. We were only a team of three today, but my teammates were fantastic and set up the win for me perfectly.”
David Bellairs, a Director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, organisers of the annual event, said: “A huge thank you must be said to each and every cyclist who turned out to support our Solidarity Ride today. Traditionally the people of Cape Town come out in their droves to support cyclists participating and are a major part of the spirit that has become a trade mark of the Cycle Tour. This special year provided cyclists with an opportunity to give back to the people of Cape Town in a Solidarity Ride and to really show how much they care – for this, we as organisers salute you.”
Elite Men 1st: Nolan Hoffman (Team Abantu) (01:01:49)
Elite Men 2nd: Tyler Day (Team Westvaal) (01:01:49)
Elite Men 3rd: Brenton Jones (Team Drapac) (01:01:49)
Elite Men 4th: Mark Renshaw (Team Etixx-Quick Step) (01:01:49)
Elite Men 5th: Nino Schurter (Team Scott Sports) (01:01:50)
Elite Ladies 1st: Lynette Burger (Team Activate Demacon) (01:17:52)
Elite Ladies 2nd: Cherise Stander (Team RECM) (01:17:52)
Elite Ladies 3rd: Maroesjka Matthee (Team BestMed ASG) (01:17:52)
Elite Ladies 4th: Lise Olivier (01:17:53)
Elite Ladies 5th: Yolandi du Toit (01:17:53)