Richard Murray has been forced to withdraw from the event due to illness ©Getty Images

South Africa’s Richard Murray will be unable to repeat his International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Cup win in Cape Town after being forced to withdraw from the tomorrow's season opening event 

Murray triumphed in the men’s race last year in front of a home crowd, as he impressed in the sprint distance event.

He finished clear of his compatriot Henri Schoeman, who sealed a South African one-two.

The duo were set return to the start line this year for the competition at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and Green Point Park.

However Murray has been forced to withdraw due to illness.

"Sorry to announce, due to health reasons and having gastro all week, I’ll not be competing this Sunday," Murray tweeted. 

"Always a special event for me so will be down there. 

"Best of luck to all competing."

 Schoeman will hope to head the men's field in Murray's absence.

They will tackle the sprint distance course, which includes a 750 metres swim leg and 20.1 kilometres bike leg.

Athletes will conclude with two laps of a 2.5km run circuit.

Portugal’s Joao Silva, Slovakia’s Richard Varga and Vicente Hernandez of Spain will hope to challenge the South African during the competition.

The Netherlands’ Rachel Klamer is the pre-race favourite for the women’s event.

Klamer will seek to improve on her sixth place finish last year, which provided a springboard for her maiden World Triathlon Series triumph in Abu Dhabi.

The Dutch athlete could face competition from the United States’ Summer Rappaport, who will race under her married name for the first time.

She won her final World Cup as Summer Cook at Miyazaki in Japan during November.

Her fellow American Chelsea Burns could also be in contention for a podium finish.

The World Cup is the second tier circuit run by the ITU.

The top tier World Triathlon Series is due to begin in Abu Dhabi next month,