The 2022 Cape Town Cycle Tour returns to its customary calendar place on Sunday, 13 March, and both 2021 champions will be in attendance, looking for more glory.
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.
Kim Le Court De Billot returns as defending women’s champion, after triumphing in a reduced bunch sprint from the then national champ, and Hout Bay local, Hayley Preen (who 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).
Le Court de Billot also won the title in 2018, and will be joined by five-time champion Cherise Williet as the only previous winners in the Elite group. Hayley Preen is back, and in form after a strong defence of her SA Champs title in February, where she narrowly lost out to Frances Janse van Rensburg, who is also racing. S’annara Grove and Kelsey van Schoor, who rounded out the top five in 2022 with Olympic mountain biker Candice Lill, are also back. 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 the women’s Elite field races.
It’s hard to single out one rider as an outright favourite in what is a relatively short race for the Elite men. But not that hard… Nolan Hoffman’s love affair with the Cape Town Cycle Tour looks set to continue in 2022, as he brings with him five strong Aluwani team mates to guide him safely to the final kilometres. If they manage to do that – bring back the track-sprint specialist after the predictable onslaughts up Suikerbossie – there is little that stands in Hofmann’s way. He has won the event four times now, one shy of SA cycling great Willie Engelbrecht’s all-time record – but has also racked up two second-places and a third in just 14 starts.
Who can stop Hoffman? Christiaan Janse van Rensburg will be back, after finishing second last year and dominating his age 30-34 category at national champs in February, as will namesake (but no relation) Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg, who won his second Elite national title in 2022. If it comes down to a sprint, the former Qhubeka rider will be hard to beat, but not the only contender with the likes of surprise 2020 winner Travis Barrett and 2016 champ Clint Hendricks in the field. Qhubeka’s Nic Dlamini is back and will be looking to create opportunities to drop the sprinters as early as Chapman’s Peak – he should find help from multiple Absa Cape Epic champion Christoph Sauser and the usual gang of Epic-ready mountain bikers looking for some extra speed alongside riders like Byron Munton, HB Kruger and Ben Fish, all of whom are in great form but won’t want to take Hoffman to the line.
The men’s and women’s Elite races will be broadcast live on the Cape Town Cycle Tour Facebook page, from 06h00 for the women’s and 06h15 for the men’s, on Sunday, 13 March.
For more information, please visit www.capetowncycletour.com.