2024 Cape Town Cycle Tour: Racing to Establish or Expand a Legacy - Cape Town Cycle Tour

2024 Cape Town Cycle Tour: Racing to Establish or Expand a Legacy

8 Mar 2024 - Press Release

The 46th edition of the Cape Town Cycle Tour will once again be more than just a bicycle race around the world’s most beautiful city. For the majority of the 27 500 competitors taking on the 109 kilometres course it will be a celebration of health, friendship and fellowship. An annual fun ride along a spectacularly scenic route. There are those for whom the Cape Town Cycle Tour is far more important too, the elite racers who seek to join the pantheon of greats who have won the illustrious title before.

Victory on the second weekend in March is one of the few ways for cyclists to step out of the insular industry and into the greater South African sporting limelight. The race made household names of Hennie Wentzel, Ertjies Bezuidenhout, Willie Engelbrecht and Cathy Carstens in its early years. More recently Robbie Hunter, Anriette Schoeman, Cherise Willeit, Kim le Court, and of course, Nolan Hoffman have gained fame through victory.

In 2024 the elite men’s race can be billed as a battle for legacy, while the elite women’s race will see a first-time winner. For the men the surprise success of Chris Jooste, in 2023 will probably impact how the race is controlled. Jooste, along with Andries Nigrini, Jaedon Terlouw and Daniel Loubser made a breakaway stick, holding off the peloton of favourites by a slender 7 seconds. Lightning is unlikely to strike, from a break, for the third time in successive years; but cycling can also be a strange sport and if the favourites teams are represented in a break the race could see an unlikely winner once more.

The more likely scenario is that Hoffman, at 38 years of age, will do his utmost to win a record equalling fifth title. It has however been three years since his fourth victory, in October 2021 when the race was rescheduled due to the Covid Pandemic, and the veteran racer’s younger rivals may have an edge over him now. The foremost of these is 2022 Cape Town Cycle Tour winner, Marc Pritzen.

The Honeycomb rider also has a formidable team to support his efforts with Tristan Nortje, who was second in the road race at the South African National Championships a month ago, the other stand-out talent in the ten-rider strong team. If Honeycomb are able to help Pritzen to victory, the 24-year-old will take a major step towards becoming the standard bearer for this decade’s star riders at the Cape Town Cycle Tour.

Pritzen’s 2022 win came from a powerful early break which were able to remain clear, partly because of their own strength and partly due to the wet weather. One suspects that Honeycomb will have to exploit the blustery conditions predicted in order to enable Pritzen to take a reduced group to the line. He will have to be cautious of the make-up of that group however. 2022 runner-up Sascha Weber could well still be smarting for revenge, while Alan Hatherly and, Namibian Road Champion, Alex Miller are two men who will be tough to beat in a reduced group sprint.

Under 23 talent, Tyler Lange – whose father Malcolm Lange won the race in three times between 1998 and 2010 – is also a rider to watch. As is 2023 runner up Terlouw, who like Jooste and his RKC Collective teammate Kent Main will be searching for a spot in a dangerous group which may surprise the favourites. The inaugural Under 17 race winner, Nicky van der Merwe steps up to the full distance this year and is, along with Travis Rademan-Ludeke, confident of upsetting the more established Cape Town Cycle Tour campaigners.

In the elite women’s race the absence due to international racing commitments of four of last year’s top five has created an opportunity for a new winner to step up. Since the move to a separate elite women’s race in 2018, which starts in Fish Hoek and take in the final 78 kilometres of the normal route, only Willeit and Le Court have won the Cape Town Cycle Tour. Now Vera Looser, Carla Oberholzer and Tiffany Keep have a great opportunity to write their names in the history books.

The Namibian Road Champion, Looser, has the best previous results of the trio. In 2023 she was pipped to the line by Le Court. Oberholzer is riding high on confidence following a sprint victory, for the South African Champion’s title, over Hayley Preen and will be tough to beat. While Keep has matured in leaps and bounds as a rider, and now races for the DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK Continental Cycling Team. In 2019 Keep was arguably the strongest rider in the race, but paid for spending too much time on the attack, five years later she will know to reserve her efforts for key moments.

Looser, Oberholzer and Keep will not have it all their own way however. Iranian mountain bike champion Faranak Partoazar makes her Cape Town Cycle Tour debut, for the Pump for Peace team, while Customized Cycling Pirtek will have options in the form of Kelsey van Schoor and Melissa Kretzinger. Perennial challenger, S’annara Grove could upset the favourites as could the freshly crowned South African Junior Road Race Champion, Errin Mackridge.

To watch the racing action, tune in to the live broadcast on the Cape Town Cycle Tour website, www.capetowncycletour.com, from 06:00 on Sunday, 10 March. Regular updated from the course can also be found at @CTCycleTour on Twitter, while the @ctcycletour Instagram and Cape Town Cycle Tour Facebook pages will share highlights from throughout the day.

Cape Town Cycle Tour Strava Club

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