The 16th edition of South Africa’s main international cycling stage race, the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Giro del Capo, begins on March 6th and comes with some changes to its format. This year’s competition promises to be the best ever in its history.

One of the changes is the number of teams to participate, instead of the usual 22; there will be 29 groups, by far the highest; also the number of cyclist per team will increase from five to six.

The split between the international and the local teams is almost equal.

Barloworld team just signed in the professional cyclist Robert Hunter, the fourth South African member of the team. Hunter is known as well as the rest of his new partners, as a great cyclist and it’s even considered a world’s top sprinters.

Hunter is beneath the eye of the press and the Giro’s fans, but especially of the Barloworld’s followers. Everybody is expecting something impressive from him. And what else could be expected after his remarkable 23 victories, proof to his outstanding accomplishments.

His most notable achievements include having competed in the world’s most important races with five appearances in the Tour de France; once in the Giro d’Italia and three times in the Tour of Spain, where he won two stages and both the points and sprints jerseys. In fact, Hunter celebrated his new career by winning the first stage of the Tour of Spain in 1999, rounding off winning the sprinters jersey and coming second in the points section… A Grand Tour that’s ranked third is not bad for a rookie!

After the Tour de France 2006 where Robbie helped his Phonak team-mate Floyd Landis to that controversial win and the American was caught positive on his testosterone test, the sponsors pulled out, leaving him and the rest of his Phonak partners unemployed.

Although the unfortunate event Hunter was involved in, it didn’t take him to long to get back on the saddle. Barloworld snapped up the 29-year-old who is the first, and to date only, South African to have ridden the Tour de France.

This Cape Argus race will be his first after more than 10 years, but according to his manager Tony Harding, “the Giro has come at just the right time”.

Next to Hunter will be competing: the Italians Fabrizio Guidi, and Enrico Degano; the Colombian Felix Cardenas and the Russian Alexandre Efimkin. Plus, another South African, Ryan Cox, seems that will take the sixth place in the Barloworld team.

The Giro del Capo will begin on March 6th, 2007 at the First Stage starting on the Faure Street Stadium, to end on top of Helshoogte Pass. Second Stage starts at the Coetzenberg Sports Centre in Stellenbosch and the proposed finish will be adjacent to the Protea Hotel at Technopark, Stellenbosch. The Third Stage start and finish lines are still a surprise.

Stage 4: begins at the Near Camps Bay High School and concludes at the Signal Hill’s top. And the Final Stage goes from Cape Town’s Hertzog Boulevard, to Green Point, which is part of the world-famous Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour; this 5th Stage takes part on March 11th, 2007.

Kept attend because for sure we will see a notable participation from Roger Hunter and his team.

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Source by Camilla Mancini