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Cycle Tour wide open in Pro races

The women’s race will once again feature an invitational start group, with all the elite and top-seeded U23 women having the option to start at Recreation Road in Fish Hoek.

FILE: Riders participate in the 2018 Cape Town Cycle Tour. Picture: @CTCycleTour/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - The professional field for South Africa’s most prestigious road race, the Cape Town Cycle Tour, is the deepest in years, especially in the women’s race.

The women’s race will once again feature an invitational start group, with all the elite and top-seeded U23 women having the option to start at Recreation Road in Fish Hoek.

The full distance will be 78km and, as with the first experimental run in 2018, this will ensure a clear run all the way to the finish without traffic from any of the men’s groups.

Candice Lill, who won the Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB Challenge last week commented.

“I cannot wait to race on Sunday. Road racing is not my strength but my Cape Epic partner, Adelheid Morath, will be here, so we will be working hard for a solid result.”

Other names to watch for include the likes of team Team Demacon MaxWax Racing featuring 2018 defending champion Kim Le Court as well as young gun Heidi Dalton, Sandton City Cycle Nation who has in its ranks Michelle Benson who recently won the 116km Ride for Sight and Olympian Joanna van de Winkel, former SA individual time trial champion Juanita Venter and Zanri Rossouw who has had an impressive 2019 so far.

You can also never discount the experience of multiple Cape Town Cycle Tour champion, Anriëtte Schoeman or for a climber such as Catherine Colyn to get away on a break.

Adding some international flavour is Welsh track star and Olympic gold medalist Elinor Barker. If it comes down to a bunch sprint and she is in the mix, there will be few who could hold her wheel.

With various team changes last year, the men’s racing will prove to be just as interesting.

Defending champion and Cycle Tour legend Nolan Hoffman will be looking to lead his Enza Construction team to the line for a fourth win. Hoffman made his intentions clear by winning the first stage of the Tour of Good Hope earlier this week.

The Pro Touch continental team features 2016 Cape Town Cycle Tour winner Clint Hendricks and 2018 runner-up Reynard Butler, both of whom will be working hard for the win.

Alfa Bodyworks-Giant has a good mix of experience and young fire and will be working hard to have young gun Byron Munton, who won the Medihelp Stellenbosch Cycle Tour in January, in the mix.

Another team to keep a close eye on is Investec Songo Specialized, made up of a host of international mountain biking stars including the links of Sam Gaze (New Zealand) who finished third in 2018 and South Africa’s Alan Hatherly, who won the Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB Challenge this past Saturday.

There are also a host of dark horse riders and smaller teams who will be looking for a surprise breakaway, however, Team Dimension Data’s star climber Nicholas Dlamini will be unlikely to let that happen.

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