Cycle Race: ‘It’s good for the city’

2008-02-05 00:00

Embrace the race.

That’s the appeal to locals to support the Intaka Tech World’s View Cycling challenge, being hosted in the city, from Pietermaritzburg Tourism director, Melanie Veness.

Veness yesterday said that there has been extensive free publicity regarding the expected road closures for each of the five races.

She said that various shops and those businesses in the CBD possibly inconvenienced by the race, were contacted telephonically and adequately informed and that from the publicity given to the race, most people in the city had responded positively.

"This is a huge event for Pietermaritzburg, a real feather in our cap to host, especially the elite men’s 1:1 race," she said.

She added that South Africans have a reputation of being warm and hospitable people and appealed to the people of the city to welcome the international competitors so that they would return to the city for next year’s race.

There has been widespread media coverage of the event, including radio interviews and television broadcasts.

Veness said that hosting this event is not merely about economic development, but about how businesses in the city are able to do better, thereby increasing employment opportunities. "We are asking people to be patient for possibly about 45 minutes to an hour in traffic in order to reap long term benefits."

She reiterated the importance of the international cyclists returning to their countries with a positive mindset about their experience of riding in SA, so that they may encourage other riders to come here.

While there has been much criticism of traffic control, international race referee Martin Bruin said that the traffic control in this race, as compared to other races in other countries, was excellent. He praised local traffic officers.

Veness said that this is the first event of its kind in the city and admitted that there is a need to fine-tune some areas.

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