South Africa’s Nolan Hoffman and Namibian Vera Adrian claimed the honours in the opening stage of the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope near Paarl in the Western Cape today.
Both of them showed their sprinting prowess in the final straight to conclude a successful ride over the route of 132km.
Riding for BCX, the 33-year-old Hoffman edged Rohan du Plooy (Alfa Bodyworks-Giant) and Italy’s Luca Mozzato (Dimension Data Continental) over the final 200m to finish in 3:17:15.
Adrian, who races for dormakaba, also kept her nerve in the final showdown to shade former champion Ariane Luthi (Team Spur).
She crossed the line in 4:01:53 with Luthi two seconds behind. London-based Anneleen Bosma was third in the same time.
After winning the Fast One in January, Hoffman was delighted with the victory which, he said, eased some of the pressure on the team.
“This stage was tailormade for me and we were sure it would come down to a sprint finish,” he said.
He said the final outcome was entirely due to the work his BCX teammates had put in throughout the day.
“There was quite a crosswind during the stage and my teammates did a fantastic job of protecting me from that.
“The plan was to deliver me for the final sprint and they did that to perfection.”
A group of three – Brendon Downes (BCX), Luthanda Kaka (Velokhaya) and Ricardo Broxham (ProTouch) – got away after about 35km but they were hauled in by the bunch with 30km left.
Adrian said the women’s race was relatively slow, only picking up in the last kilometre when Catherine Colyn and Liezel Jordaan set a faster pace.
“Just before the last corner, with about 250 metres to go, Yzette Oelofse went to the front and I was lying second.
“With about 200m to go I just put my head down and went for it.”
In a major incentive for the women’s champion, Cape Town jewellery retailer Different by Design have donated a neckpiece with an ornamental bicycle attached valued at R25 000. The men’s winner will receive a pair of sterling silver bicycle-shaped cufflinks.
Presented by Scicon and the City of Drakenstein, the race’s focus will now switch to tomorrow’s 26.5km time-trial, which will finish at Boland Agricultural School just outside Paarl.