When the morning’s first “Hoopla” rings out, at 06h15, Nolan Hoffman will be the rider most eyes will be fixed upon. The three-time champion was outsprinted by New Zealand’s Sam Gaze in 2019 and is focused on regaining the title he last won in 2018 this year. He will start the 2020 Cape Town Cycle Tour with the confidence of a victory fresh in his mind, having sprinted to stage honours on Stage 3 of the Tour of Good Hope; just days before his biggest goal of the season.
The current weather prediction, of moderate temperatures and a gentle south-easterly breeze should suit the Enza rider. Hoffman has consistently proven himself to be among South Africa’s fastest finishers, but in years when the wind has helped shred the elite men’s field the big man has struggled. To be in contention for victory Hoffman will have to rely on his Enza team to keep the peloton together to the foot of Suikerbossie. If he can summit the final climb in the lead group Hoffman will be the favourite to out-sprint his rivals on Helen Suzman Boulevard, in the shadow of the Cape Town Stadium.
If the Cape Town Cycle Tour does come down to a sprint finish Jayde Julius could be Hoffman’s greatest threat. The ProTouch rider placed third, in the road race, at the 2020 South African Championships, behind WorldTour stars Ryan Gibbons and Daryl Impey. The Enza team have another card they could play however, in the form of Commonwealth Games bronze medallist; Clint Hendricks. In 2016 he is nominally a support rider for Hoffman, but the roads of the Mother City will determine who will earn the right to sprint for victory; if it comes down to a sprint.
It is in the interest of the Office Guru and Alfabody Works Giant teams to ensure it does not. Dylan Girdlestone and the powerful U23 rider, Jean-Pierre Lloyd, will look to break the race up and exploit their skills as a climber and puncheur, respectively. They could be aided in this by the former WorldTour racers Jaco Venter and Jacques Janse van Rensberg. The pair who have formed their own team for 2020 will be representing the Alfabody Works Giant squad at the Cape Town Cycle Tour. At the time of writing, Venter was leading the Tour of Good Hope’s general classification, after victory in the individual time trial, on Tuesday. He is thus in the form which could see him launch a long-range attack.
Other riders too look out for are Specialized’s Craig Boyes, who is no stranger to a long-range breakaway at the Cape Town Cycle Tour, and Namibian road champion, Dan Craven. Christoph Sauser and Karl Platt will once again be using the race to warm-up for the Cape Epic, which starts the following weekend. The veteran pair may no longer be threats to the overall title, but they will no doubt still look to animate the racing. As will Oliver Munnik. The former elite rider renews his racing licence for the sole purpose of taking part in the Cape Town Cycle Tour annually. Expect to see him make a drive for the front of the peloton as the race passes through Kalk Bay. Years of experience have taught Munnik to time his attack to perfection; ensuring he gets a great photo, along with a mention on the live broadcast.
Cycling fans can watch the race live on the Cape Town Cycle Tour’s Facebook page, Cape Town Cycle Tour, or on the race’s website: www.capetowncycletour.com. The live broadcast will start at 06h00 and conclude at 15h00 on Sunday, 8 March. The men’s and women’s races will also feature live updates on the event’s Twitter handle: @CTCycleTour. While highlights from riders’ experiences can be found on Instagram, @ctcycletour, or by following the hashtag: #ctcycletour2020.