The 2016 Bestmed Tour of Good Hope took place from the 29th February to the 4th of March over 5 stages.
Presented in the week leading up to the Cape Town Cycle Tour and based in the Paarl/Franschhoek valley, the event encompasses five days of clover leaf racing through the Cape Winelands over a total distance of 522km and 6168m vertical ascent.
The race covers a distance of 522km with 6168 vertical meters of ascent and included some spectacular Western Cape Mountain Passes.
Christoph Sauser from Songo.Info and Specialized hosted a team training camp for his XC riders in Stellenbosch and invited Team NAD to form part of a team that took on the Tour. Included in the team were the likes of multiple junior World Champion – Simon Andreassen, Kiwi Champion – Sam Gaze, Konny Looser to name a few. A strong team on paper that went on to win a stage and fight for the GC.
Day 1 – Started with 103km and 900m ascent. The plan was to work for Sam Gaze and deliver him to the finish for a sprint. The first day of racing was full of attacks, but none that could stay away. The finish came down to a bunch sprint and Nolan Hoffman from Team Telkom crossed the line first. Team NAD riders finished comfortably in the bunch with the rest of the Songo.Info team.
Day 2 – Individual Time Trial. A 37km Route with a slight incline that covered 250m of ascent. The professional road racing teams were out on their TT bikes, but the rest of the bunch rode their standard road bikes, slightly adjusting their position for aerodynamics. Nico Bell borrowed a TT bike and had an excellent ride managing a 5th place on the stage. Gawie finished in 19th position on the day, but the great news was that Nico moved up to 5th place on the GC, just 2’45” behind the race leader Stefan de Bod.
Day 3 and onto the first mountain top finish. A hard day that covered 135km with 1650m ascent. Again, there were many attacks to try and get rid of the sprinters, but the bunch stuck together for the most part of the stage. Sam Gaze from Songo.Info surged up the final climb to take the stage victory for the team and Nico managed to capitalise on the hard day by finishing in 7th place on the day and moving up to 4th place in the GC.
Day 4 – The second hard stage of the Tour. Climbs included Bains Kloof and Du Toits Kloof passes. A day that would suit the climbers of the race. The heat and humidity made the day’s racing much harder than initially anticipated. At 8am, the mercury rose to 30 degrees and riders were in for a tough time. Gawie made a move early in the day and went with the break. They worked really hard and only got caught with a few km to go. Nico sat in the bunch with the rest of the team and let the pure road racing teams do all the chasing. With a few km to go, Nico went to the front to pace Sam Gaze to the finish. A move that saw the Kiwi rider make a bid for the stage win, but he celebrated too early and was beaten to the line by a 1000th of a second in a photo finish. A great day for the team.
“Gawie in the break on stage 4” – Capcha Photography
Day 5 – The finale. The last 84km of the Tour of Good Hope was not a easy roll in. The finish at the summit of the Taal Monument in Paarl would be the final push. Nico needed another 20 seconds to move up to 3rd place on GC, but was unable to gain the time needed. A quite day in the field saw the bunch finish together and Nico retain his 4th place in the GC. Gawie finished in 15th place.