South African cycling icon Gary Beneke has set his sights on the UCI rainbow jersey awarded to each age group’s world champion in the UCI World Cycling Tour Final from 23 to 26 August.
The 49 year old Gauteng star, who rides in the colours of the Dimension Data/Gary Beneke Sports team, qualified for the amateur road racing masters finals lineup with a powerful showing at last year’s Msunduzi Road Challenge, and says he expects the pressure to come from the other veterans and masters rather than the hilly KZN midlands course.
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.
The UCI (International Cycling Union) released the 2013 Mountain Bike World Cup calendar last week and a noticeable absence from the March/April slot was Pietermaritzburg’s already familiar kick-off to the global cross-country and downhill season.
South African mountain biking fans need not be disheartened though because an even bigger prize waits in the form of the once-off MTB World Championship, scheduled for 26th August to 1st September 2013.
The UCI (Union Cycliste Inernationale) announced yesterday at a board meeting in Salzburg that Cycling South Africa has been awarded the rights to host the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships in KwaZulu-Natal.
The popular mountain biking venue of Karkloof was evaluated and considered the selected marathon venue by Simon Burney, UCI’s technical delegate, with the area and its abundance of forestry roads, dual track and singletrack lending more to what the endurance race would need for the championship course design.
The phenomenal success of the inaugural 2011 Tour de Free State has opened the doors for the second running of the annual event to be featured as a UCI 2.1 WE race by the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale), making it the only Olympic qualifying road cycling race for women in Africa.
Besides being the first ever UCI Women’s road cycling tour in South Africa, the 5-day tour that runs from 23rd to 27th May is also the last opportunity for nations to increase their national rankings before the UCI’s May 31st deadline for the qualification of London Olympic Games places.
KwaZulu-Natal will be home to no fewer than four UCI Cross-Country events in February and March next year, leading the way locally by raising the bar to international standard in this form of the sport, which is an Olympic mountain biking discipline.
Serving as a prelude to the opening round of the UCI MTB World Cup to be held at Cascades in Pietermaritzburg on 17th and 18th March, the first three of these events, presented by Momentum Health, will be held on courses designed by Nic Floros from KZN, who already designs many of the country’s top marathon and cross-country tracks.
Thanks to the vision of Fritz Pienaar and Advendurance, talented young mountain bikers in South Africa will get the opportunity during the MTN Sabie Event to test their skills against some of the world’s best.
Wessel van der Walt, race director of the MTN series, announced that from next year the Sabie Event will be a UCI-sanctioned event where many international ranking points will be on offer.
The organisers of the Msunduzi Road Challenge cycle race on 29 and 30 October have struck a compromise on their road closure plans to ensure the residents in the New Hanover, Dalton and Wartburg areas are not adversely affected on the Sunday of the road race.
The race, which offers options of 90km, 111km and 126km from Alexandra Park in Pietermaritzburg, past Albert Falls dam and traversing the midlands via New Hanover, Dalton, Harburg and Wartburg before returning to the start venue, was initially planned for full road closure for the duration of the race on Sunday 30 October.