Cape Town - Nolan Hoffman shrugged off a
few anxious moments early on Monday's to time his sprint to perfection, capturing
the opening stage of the Tour of Good Hope cycle race for the second
year in a row.
South Africa's premier road tour got under way in inclement weather
near Paarl in the Cape Winelands, but it did not stop the elite category going
out with guns blazing on the short 58.5km first stage.
The event has UCI 2.2 status
for the first time this year, allowing riders to earn international ranking
points. It has resulted in teams from France, the United Arab Emirates and
Brunei contesting the race.
Riding for Team Enza after
securing a sponsorship with Enza Construction, Hoffman edged his rivals in the
final dash for the line, finishing in 1:18:18.
He was followed by
Ryan Harris (TEG Procycling) and Graeme Ockhuis (All4Security). All three
podium finishers were credited with the same time.
Hoffman, who grew up in the
region but now lives on the West Rand in Gauteng, said they knew the pace "would be hot from the start".
He praised his team for their
work in closing the gap on Cycle Power's Orion Craig, who
broke away about halfway through the stage, and said they could not have asked
for a better result for their new sponsor.
about 3km to go, Gustav Basson from TEG Procycling attacked and my team-mate
Steven van Heerden had to chase really hard to bring him back," said Hoffman, who will defend his Cape Town Cycle
Tour title on Sunday.
caught him just before the last kilometre and it was a bit of a mess as all the
teams were trying to bring their sprinters through to the front.
then got on the wheel of a TEG rider and was able to time it perfectly in the
was not easy because it drags up a bit in the last kilometre and then there is
a slight downhill in the 200m towards the finish.
knew I had to get the sprint going just before the crest and I managed to get
the perfect jump on Ryan. From there I knew I could do enough to take it."
Earlier, Hoffman said they had
taken the breakaway by Craig seriously, describing him as a dangerous
know that he is a strong guy and we couldn't
let him get too far up the road.
boys took the responsibility of closing the gap, but it was not easy because
the rain spiced things up a bit and the wind was swirling a lot and changing direction.
was well within the last 10km that we managed to close him down and ultimately
I must pay tribute to my teammates for the stage win."
He added that securing a
sponsor had motivated the team to produce something special.
"It's incredible to start like this and shows that we have
done the hard work. To deliver (a stage win) for the boys when they take the
responsibility is an awesome feeling.
it could not have been better payback for Enza Construction and the faith they
have shown in us."
In the women's race, defending champion Ariane Luthi sent out a
signal to her rivals by winning the opening stage in 1:40:06, ahead of Liezel
Jordaan and Catherine Colyn.
The Swiss pro, a former Cape
Epic champion, won four out of the five stages on the way to her overall
victory a year ago and will be looking to consolidate her yellow jersey
position in tomorrow’s second stage of 114km.
Stage one, 58.5km
UCI elite men
1 Nolan Hoffman (Team Enza) 1:18:18
2 Ryan Harris (TEG Procycling) 1:18:18
3 Graeme Ockhuis (All4Security) 1:18:18
4 Yousif Mirza Alhammadi (UAE Team Emirates)
5 Louis Visser (TEG Procycling) 1:18:19
6 Reynard Butler (ProTouch) 1:18:19
7 Alexandre Meyer (Mauritius) 1:18:19
8 Dan Craven (Israel Cycling Academy) 1:18:19
9 Wynand Hofmeyr (Kinetic Pro Cycling)
10 Joshua van Wyk (OfficeGuru) 1:18:20
1 Christiaan Klopper 1:28:18
2 De Klerk Jacobs 1:28:19
3 Charl Swanepoel 1:28:25
1 Damion Gomez 1:28:18
2 Freddie Visser 1:28:24
3 Andrew Elliott 1:28:24
Veteran men (30-39)
1 Mynhardt van der Merwe 1:28:14
2 Peet Schutte 1:28:19
3 Christiaan Janse van Rensburg 1:28:20
Veteran men (40-49)
1 Robin Harris 1:28:18
2 Thys Oosthuizen 1:28:18
3 Achmad Solomon 1:28:19
Veteran men (50-59)
1 Anton Duvenage 1:32:23
2 Dirk Nel 1:32:34
3 Joe Antunes 1:32:35
1 Ariane Luthi 1:40:06
2 Liezel Jordaan 1:40:07
3 Catherine Colyn 1:40:08
4 Lucy James 1:40:08
5 Maja Wloszczowska