With a month to go to the 2012 UCI World Cycling Tour final in and around Pietermaritzburg, organisers are confident that all systems are in place for the time trial and road races that will decide the amateur age group road cycling world titles from 23 to 26 August.
Previously known as the Masters World Championships, the finals of the UCI World Cycling Tour will feature riders that have earned the right to be on the start line in Pietermaritzburg by virtue of a top 25% finish in one of thirteen qualification events held worldwide over the past year.
Last year 218 local riders qualified through the Msunduzi Road Challenge time trial and roads races to take part in the world age group title deciders. In addition to these riders, 31 local riders also earned wildcards into the event to take part in either the 26km time trial in Wartburg or their respective age group road races.
They will square up to the best riders from the qualifying events in Australia, France, the United Kingdom, Crete, Slovenia, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Spain and Canada to decide the holders of the coveted UCI world champion rainbow jersey in each of the masters age groups.
The time trial has been moved to a picturesque fast layout based around the town of Wartburg on Thursday 23rd August.
The 60km, 96km and 112km road races will be held on a testing hilly course that starts and finishes at Alexandra Park in the city of Pietermaritzburg and traverses the road towards Albert Falls dam, towards Wartburg, Dalton, Noodsberg and New Hanover on Saturday 25th August and Sunday 26th August.
The races will be staged on full road closure administered by the RTI and city police officials who successfully managed this operation for the Msunduzi Road Challenge last year and kept the disruption of local traffic to a minimum.
In a combined campaign involving the regional government road agencies and local businesses the sections of road that will be used for the race are being upgraded and cleaned to ensure they are in top condition for the time trial and road races.
With many riders travelling from far flung corners of the world for the event the organisers have arranged two social rides to help the competitors shake of their jetlag and acclimatise to local conditions with a hill climb time trial up Old Howick Road on Monday 20th August and a 54km multi-lap road race on the Mount Verde estate outside Hilton on Tuesday 21st August.
“This is an endorsement by UCI that indeed, Pietermaritzburg is deserving of the title of ‘Bike City,” said Pietermaritzburg’s mayor, Councillor Chris Ndlela.
“We have hosted the various disciplines in cycling, and have done so exceptionally well. To know that in the calendar of UCI, Pietermaritzburg makes a constant appearance makes us a global and competitive member of world sports,” he added.
Programme of events
UCI World Cycling Tour Final 2012
Monday 20th August 2012 – Social Hill Dash Time Trial
Tuesday 21st August 2012 – Social Mt Verde Road Race – 54km
Thursday 23rd August 2012 – UWCT Time Trial Competition
Saturday 25th August 2012 – UWCT Final 61km Race and UWCT Final 96km Race
Sunday 26th August 2012 – UWCT 112km Race
More information can be found at www.uwctfinal.co.za