The 43rd staging of the Cape Town Cycle Tour was won by Nolan Hoffman who became the second most successful men’s rider in the race’s history when he won his fourth title in 2hr 37min 12sec on Sunday.
The 36-year-old ENZA team rider – who won in 2014, 2015 and 2018 – delivered the perfect sprint after surviving the climbs up Chapman’s Peak and Suikerbossie and winning by over a bike length ahead of Christiaan Janse van Rensburg and Craig Boyes.
“This is definitely the title that means the most. It has been a tough time for my family over the last 18 months and we have lost family members to Covid. I am just blessed to be healthy and be able to win,” Hoffman said.
“I put on a lot of weight during the lockdown but I have worked really hard at getting into shape once we heard that the Cycle Tour was happening.”
Hoffman was able to save his energy for the big climbs when teammate David Maree got into the only significant break of the day. Maree got clear with Alwyn Steenkamp (TEG Procycling) and Keanan Roodt just after the climb up Wynberg Hill.
Through Misty Cliffs the escapees stretched out the lead to 1:19 before they were eventually swallowed up by the charging bunch up Chapman’s Peak.
As the lead bunch approached Suikerbossie, World Tour rider Nic Dlamini (Assos-Qhubeka) was the first to attack as he attempted to burn off the sprinters. But the lead group eventually reformed over the final 15km into the finish and Hoffman – helped by guest teammate and mountain biking legend Christoph Sauser – got himself into the perfect position to deliver his trademark sprint
Only Willie Engelbrecht has won more titles than Hoffman in the men’s race with five to his name.
In the women’s race, 2018 winner Kim Le Court De Billot took the title in a 78km that started in Fish Hoek. She clocked 2:13:37. Le Court De Billot was part of a select group of six riders that managed to pull clear of the bunch up Chapman’s Peak and included SA champion Hayley Preen, top mountain biker Candice Lill, UK triathlon star Emma Pallant, Kelsey van Schoor and S’annara Grove.
Pallant was the early aggressor while Preen put down the hammer up Suikerbossie in an attempt to break up the lead group. But, in the end, the group entered the final kilometres intact and it was up to Le Court De Billot and Preen to contest the sprint.
Behind them Pallant and the rest got tangled up and Pallant crashed heavily within sight of the finish line. “I felt confident on the climbs, felt I was in the right place and my legs were good,” Le Court de Billot. “I tried to save my legs for the sprint because I had confidence in that. I’m just glad I could pull it off for my team.”