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WATCH: Champion Nolan Hoffman looking for back-to-back Cape Town Cycle Tour wins

Nolan Hoffman won the 2021 Cape Town Cycle Tour. Picture Leon Lestrade.

Nolan Hoffman won the 2021 Cape Town Cycle Tour. Picture Leon Lestrade.

Published Mar 12, 2022

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Cape Town - Franschhoek’s Nolan Hoffman (Aluwani) is set to make history at the 44th Cape Town Cycle Tour, presented by Pick n Pay, on Sunday.

After his win in 2021, the local hero has now won the event four times and is only one behind the legendary Willie Engelbrecht for the highest number of wins in the men’s category. Annriette Schoeman holds the record in the women’s event with seven wins.

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“Every year I try not to do much in the first half of the race and keep very quiet. But there is no doubt that I have suffered on the climbs in the past. But my legs are good this year so I’m feeling excited,” Hoffman said, who has won all of his Cycle Tours in a spectacular sprint finish.

Hoffman will have his five-member Aluwani teammates to help him on the day and set him up if he’s in contention for his favourite sprint. Hoffman has also finished second twice and third once in 14 starts.

It is unlikely that Hoffman will have it easy. Newly-crowned SA road champion and former World Tour professional, Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg, and 2020 winner Travis Barrett are all top class sprint specialists while Team Qhubeka’s Nic Dlamini will be looking to get away on his favourite climbs and disrupt the sprint train.

In the women's race, Kim Le Court De Billot returns as defending champion, after winning in a reduced bunch sprint from the then national champ, and Hout Bay local, Hayley Preen last year. Preen made the racing out of her home village up the feared Suikerbossie, only to be brought back by Le Court de Billot and British triathlete Emma Pallant in the run into the finish.

Le Court de Billot, who also won the title in 2018, will be joined by five-time champion Cherise Williet as the only previous winners in the Elite group. Preen is back, and in-form, after a strong defense of her SA Champs title in February, where she narrowly lost out to Frances Janse van Rensburg, who is also racing this year’s Cycle Tour. S’annara Grove and Kelsey van Schoor, who rounded out the top five in 2022 with Olympic mountain biker Candice Lill, are also back.

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Lill won’t be the only strong off-roader making their presence felt, as Tiffany Keep and Vera Looser will also be in the mix, joining Preen in making the racing hard for the sprinters over the shorter 78km distance of the women’s Elite field race.

“There is little doubt that it is a very strong field this year,” Le Court de Billot admitted. “It will be a tough battle, and everyone is in good shape between SA champs and the upcoming Africa champs.”

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Covid-19 restrictions forced the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust to postpone the 2021 event to October – ironically, the inaugural event was also an October affair, back in 1977 – but for the 44th edition, the race returns to its regular March slot.

@Herman_Gibbs

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