KZN female-only cycle races in November

2016-10-19 06:00

SINCE 2009, Pietermaritzburg has been the recognised hub of international cycling events in South Africa and this trend continues with two UCI 1.2 races exclusively for women being staged in and around the city on 16 and 17 November.

The two races - Queen Nandi Challenge and the Queen Sibaya Classic - have attracted the attention of local, national and international teams.

The first race of the series is the Queen Nandi Challenge on Wednesday 16 November. The UCI Category 1.2 race is a 100km loop starting at Midmar Dam before sweeping through the Edendale Valley and climbing back through Hilton and returning to Midmar. The race is named after Queen Nandi, mother of Shaka Zulu, recognised as the mother of the Zulu nation.

The second race, the Queen Sibaya Classic, which takes place on Thursday 17 November, is a 118km race again starting at Midmar Dam and will see the peloton climbing to Mooi River before racing back to the finish at Midmar, passing through Howick.

Although a road race, close to 4.5km of it is on a hard gravel road, an African twist on the iconic Strade Bianche race in Italy. The race is named after Queen Sibaya, who stood up to an abusive husband, one of the first historical steps leading to the empowerment of women in the country today.

Currently four UCI women’s teams will competing - Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team, Team Tibco, Silicon Valley Bank, Hitec Products and Bizkaia-Durango and this will see riders from as far as the U.S., Spain, Holland, Ukraine, Britain, Germany, Finland, Denmark and Canada coming to compete.

While there have been women’s races in South Africa before, they have always been linked to men’s races. Now for the first time, women-only races will be staged and this is part of Cycling South Africa’s plan to develop women’s cycling in South Africa.

As part of this plan the organisers have also been working with the UCI, the African Cycling Confederation and the UCI African Cycling Centre to ensure that this opportunity will benefit as many riders and nations as possible.

JP van Zyl and his team at the African Cycling Centre will be holding a training camp for riders from all over Africa in the weeks leading up to the KZN Summer Series races, then these riders will compete in the races under the African Cycling Centre banner.

This will boost the international list at the races, and apart from the South African ladies, so far there will be also riders from Algeria, Botswana, Central African Republic, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe all fighting to raise the stakes for African cycling. - Supplied.

For the first time,
women-only races will be staged and this is part of Cycling South Africa’s plan to develop women’s cycling in South Africa

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