All good to go at the Shova

2014-10-11 00:00

THE 28th annual Amashova Durban Classic is set for its biggest turnout as cyclists prepare to hit the road early tomorrow morning.

With late registration only wrapping up yesterday, the official race numbers have not been calculated but entries have already surpassed that of previous races, boding well for a great event.

“We are hoping to reach 12 000 but we had already passed previous race entries when we closed the normal registrations,” said race director Annie Batchelder.

Preparations for the race are being concluded and Batchelder is confident that it’s all systems go.

“I think we are set. We have had such amazing support from Suncoast as well as the City of Durban and everything seems right, out on the road.”

Planning such an event went relatively smoothly, according to Batchelder, with the only problem being caused by the dry conditions in Kwa-Zulu Natal over the past few months.

“It really was only the little things that went wrong but the worst was that we couldn’t get hold of hay bales due to the drought. Luckily, at the last minute, we had a little angel on our shoulder and managed to organise that,” Batchelder said with a chuckle.

The fact that the Shova is so established has also helped preparations somewhat. Many of the race marshals plus other services and volunteers have worked the race for a number of years.

“It really has become like a little Amashova community. It’s great that it’s the same route year after year; we end up having the same people coming out and helping.”

The race is particularly exciting this year now that it has become a UCI qualifying event. That means that serious cyclists have a chance to qualify for the 2015 UCI World Cycling Tour.

“It has definitely brought more professionals in. There is only one UCI qualifier on each continent so it really is a feather in the cap for Durban, South Africa and the continent as a whole. It is a five-year contract so hopefully in a few years we can attract some professional cyclists from around the world,” she said.

Final late registration opens today at Suncoast Casino from 9 am to 4 pm while the Minishova gets under way at Sunkist beach at 7 am.

“It looks like we are all good to go. We are keeping our fingers crossed for nice, cool weather tomorrow and we hope that everyone has a fantastic ride from Pietermaritzburg,” Batchelder said.

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