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30 Apr, 2015

Nolan Rules The Waves

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If you’d asked any cycling expert who’d win the 2015 Cape Town Cycle Tour, chances are he or she would’ve pointed at former world champion and multiple Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish.

But few predicted that our own sprinter par excellence, Nolan Hoffman would outsprint everyone and take top honours in the elite men’s section of the shortened 47 kilometre race.

“Amazing! We’ve got the Champagne and its awesome!” he told Modern Cyclist shortly after blitzing the shortened event in a time of 1:01:48.

“I mean, flippen’ ‘ell, it’s the Cycle Tour!” he exclaimed, still emphatic after the historic win, “I don’t think it has sunk in yet, but I’m super proud.”

Nolan is only the third person in the 38-year history of the event to defend the Cape Town Cycle Tour title.

The fact that the race was shortened for safety reasons because of the fires didn’t take any of the competitive nature away from any of the competitors at the sharp end of the race.

“It is irrelevant what the distance was, the competition was always going to be the same. If it was after 100 kilometres or 150 kilometres, I was still going to sprint against Mark Cavendish and all the other guys on the line. So for us it is incredible to win against a guy like Mark,” he said.

According to “the Hoff”, his team Abantu outsmarted Pro Continental Team Etixx – Quick-Step, which included Mark Cavendish – who ended the race in sixth place – and his normal lead-out man, Mark Renshaw – who achieved a credible fourth place.

“The beauty of the bunch sprint is that it is so unpredictable. And we got the jump on them and it was perfect. It worked in our favour,” he said. “So what can you say if you execute your plan and it works?”

Nolan stressed that the win was due to his “flawless” team, and that he couldn’t have done it without the likes of Morné van Wyk supporting him on the hills or HB Kruger who lead him out to the line.

"We really did our homework with regards to the shortened route and final 10 kilometres. We went and drove the entire race the day before and marked out the final three kilometres. We set our plan and the boys all knew the job they had to do. We went and rode the finish in the morning before the start to make 100% sure of our markers. We also studied videos of races where Cav has been beaten and knew we had to get the jump on him. We bided our time, stuck near to the front and then HB (Kruger) jumped with me on his wheel just before the circle. We went through the circle first and second and the rest is history. We stuck to the plan and the team executed it perfectly.What more could you ask?” he commented, “It was amazing and I’m really, really proud to ride with guys like this. And what a pleasure to pay them back with a win!”

He has dedicated his win to the memory of the people who passed away in a tragic bus accident in Franschhoek pass the day before the Cape Town Cycle Tour.

“I come from there and it is really a close community,” he said, “the rugby team was really the heart of the community and to have lost players in that accident is really sad. My heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones. I hope my win lifts the spirit of the community.”

Tyler Day (Westvaal) was second, Brenton Jones (Drapac) was third and Mark Renshaw (Etixx-Quick Step) finished fourth. And perhaps even stranger in a race full of strange happenings was the fact that former world champion cross country mountain biker Nino Schurter finished in fifth place.

The race was aggressive from the start with riders taking every opportunity possible to go on the attack and drop the sprinters. But, with one of the world’s best sprinters in the bunch, the peloton was under the control of Pro Tour team Etixx-Quick Step.

Cavendish's teammate nullified any attacks which played perfectly into the hands of Team Abantu as they lurked behind the wheels of Team Drapac coming into the final few kilometres. A solid attack by Kevin Evans strung the peloton out up Hospital Bend but once over the top the high speeds saw him being swallowed up as the race entered town.

Raymond Travers

Raymond Travers

Modern Cyclist Editor |

Editor