Top SA riders eye PMB event

2013-10-15 00:00

Seven cyclists who took part in Italian race to use Msunduzi Road Challenge as a means to qualify for the 2014 UWCT final in Slovenia

SEVEN of the South African campaigners in the UCI World Cycling Tour final in Trento, Italy, last month are targeting the 2013 Msunduzi Road Challenge, which takes place in Noodsberg from October 26-27, as a means to qualify for the 2014 UWCT final in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

With entries for the Msunduzi Road Challenge closing at midnight on October 21, the seven SA riders from the Trento world title decider have committed to riding the road race, time trial or both — one of them proudly racing in new world champion rainbow stripes earned in Italy. It is a fairly quick turnaround for the riders having only competed at the end of last month, but a number of them are using the race as their only qualifying opportunity that adds that slight spice and pressure to their efforts.

The route for the Msunduzi Road Challenge will not be too foreign to these riders, who would have experienced the course last year during the UWCT final held in Wartburg. This year sees a slight adjustment to the routes but nothing too alarming.

The attack on the challenge will be led by the only remaining South African UWCT World champion, Neville Ackermann.

Ackermann claimed the men’s time trial 55-59 category at the most recent final in Trento and will look to the Msunduzi as a way to book his ticket to Slovenia in 2014.

The cyclist, who only managed a bronze at the 2012 final in Pietermaritzburg, went two places better to not only claim the gold, but also return with SA’s only medal from the championships.

Gary Beneke has also taken up the challenge of qualifying for the 2014 final at the Msunduzi Road Challenge this year and the former world champion had a slightly disappointing trip to Trento. He will be hoping to make up for it on what is a much more favourable course for him in Noodsberg and surrounding areas.

With a 20 km climb at the end of the road race in Trento this year, Beneke is a lot more comfortable on the slighter, more intense climbs and feels that the course at the Msunduzi, as well as the course set up for the 2014 final, is much better suited to his style of riding and he hopes he can claim back the rainbow- striped jersey he won in 2012.

One of the country’s most decorated UWCT competitors, Roger Rennie, will be in search of qualification for his fifth UWCT final, where he has claimed a handful of medals, including two silvers and a bronze.

The Pietermaritzburg rider fell ill before his race in Trento and this meant he was not at his top level for the race and that was disappointing for him. With a sound knowledge of local conditions and having recovered from his illness, Rennie will be endeavouring to claim a spot in that illusive top 25% of his age category when he races in the time trial for the +65 category at the Msunduzi Road Challenge.

Of the female riders that took part in the UWCT final in Trento, Shirley Schmidt was the best placed South African after she managed to claim a 19th position in a gruelling women’s road race as well as a hugely respectable 14th place in the individual time trial.

The other woman who took part in the worldwide spectacle and will be taking part in the Msunduzi Road Challenge is Adele van Wyk.

Van Wyk only took part in the time trial in Trento in the 40-44 category and ended in 14th position.

The 2013 race has taken on a whole new feel and it hopes to encourage as many riders as possible to take part.

With the introduction of tandem bikes to the schedule for 2013, the race organisers are trying to promote the idea of fun for everyone and move away from the central focus of its being a world champs qualifier.

The race provides people with the opportunity to come out and have an enjoyable weekend in the sugar cane belt of the Midlands and ride along a fairly challenging yet safe route.

There are very few road races in the province so the Msunduzi event provides riders with a great chance to enjoy what the province has to offer.

The 2013 Msunduzi Road Challenge is based in Noodsburg about 50 km north-east of Pietermaritzburg.

• To enter please visit and More information can be found at


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