THE international Africa Cup cycling event will be hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay this year when 20 African nations will be competing over four days.The race will take place from October 10 to 13, which will offer UCI points towards qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.The inaugural Africa Cup took place in Eritrea last year and Nelson Mandela Bay is ready to show off its world-class sporting destination with the second edition. The event format comprises four one-day races, featuring an individual time trial, mixed relay, criterium and a road race.The Africa Cup is the first event in a three-year partnership between NMBM and Cycling SA to bring international and championship events to Nelson Mandela Bay. A legacy project is at the heart of the partnership, whereby cycling programmes will be set up in peri-urban areas with the intention to increase the existing cycling culture in the Eastern Cape.NMBM Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, said, “We’re proud once again to show off the metro as the sporting capital of the country. We have shown time and again we have an appetite and are capable of hosting high impact events. We’re ready to welcome the best African cyclists to our shores and give them an opportunity to qualify for more points towards the Olympic Games while taking in the heritage and culture of our city. “We could not enter into this partnership without a legacy project that will leave a lasting impact on cycling in the city and the country. We’re excited about the grassroots programme, which we’re confident will have a big impact.”The event is open to African national teams, designed to give nations the chance to improve their international rankings.President of Cycling South Africa, Zamuxolo Xatasi, said the event provides a unique opportunity for African cyclists, and in particular women cyclists, to gain more UCI points on race days – where the continental programme of events focuses largely on men’s road racing. Xatasi added, “It’s designed to uplift nations in the international rankings. Bringing international races into communities will hopefully entice young people to take up cycling. “Nelson Mandela Bay is very picturesque and has unique topography for a coastal town, with short and steep climbs. There are some very good vistas, which make for a good backdrop for the event. The metro is steeped in the history of the country and this is a unique opportunity to invite African nations to race and be exposed to this world-class destination.”The racing details are as follows: Day 1 – October 10, Individual Time Trial, Marine Drive Day 2 – October 11, Mixed Relay, New Brighton Day 3 – October 12, Criterium Race, Lorraine Primary School; Day 4 – October 13, Road Races, St Georges Park/CBD.