Hoffman and his team rode textbook bunch sprint, which saw him appearing out of the group in perfect fashion to deny Gaze – who won his first elite UCI Mountain Bike World Cup race the previous day and took the Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB Challenge title the week before – what would’ve been a unique hat trick.
The race, billed as #40Take2, effectively the second running of the 40th edition after the 2017 event was cancelled due to wind – was exciting from the gun.
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.
“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 women’s race saw a pioneering first when they started in Glencairn to have 76 kilometre race. This ensured a clear run all the way to the finish and it was epic.
In the end, Kim Le Court (Demacon) took the bunch sprint ahead of Namibia’s Vera Adrian (DormaKaba) and track star Maroesjka Matthee (Ciovita).
“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.”
The women’s podium saw three different nationalities, while there was one Kiwi on the men’s podium alongside the two South Africans. “I’m really excited about how the day has played out,” said David Bellairs, Marketing, Media and Sponsorship Director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust. “To have more than 40 percent of the elite groups made up of International riders proves just what an important race this has become on the world stage.”
Watch the race replay here:
1. Nolan Hoffman 02:37:30
2. Sam Gaze 02:37:31
3. Reynard Butler 02:37:31
1. Kimberley Le Court De Billot 02:11:50
2. Vera Adrian 02:11:50
3. Maroesjka Matthee 02:11:50
For more information on the 2018 Cape Town Cycle Tour, please visit http://capetowncycletour.com/ or follow us on Facebook , twitter (@CTCycleTour) and on Instagram (@ctcycletour).