PMB gearing up for big cycling event

2016-10-07 10:44
Pictured in 2015’s KZN Autumn Series is South African cyclist Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (with red helmet).

Pictured in 2015’s KZN Autumn Series is South African cyclist Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (with red helmet). (Supplied)

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The city of Pietermaritzburg is set to host its very first International KZN Summer Series Races exclusively for female cyclists.

In collaboration with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation and Msunduzi Municipality, the inaugural KZN Summer Series will take place in the city on Wednesday and Thursday, November 16 and 17. The event comprises two one-day women-only races, a first for the country and continent.

While there have been women’s races in South Africa and Pietermaritzburg before, they have always been linked to men’s races.

Alec Lenferna, director of Real Events Management, the event organisers, said the plan is to develop women’s cycling on the continent by exposing women to some of the best riders in the world and allowing them to compete on home soil.

“Men’s cycling has always attracted more attention than women’s cycling. This is such a big deal for us and that is why we were quite particular in choosing the names of the races. We wanted really strong KwaZulu-Natal historical icons,” said Lenferna.

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

Since 2009, Pietermaritzburg has staged various cycling events ranging from mountain bike races, BMX tournaments, road cycling and track racing. The city is also among the only three Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) biking cities in the world, namely Copenhagen for Europe, Melbourne for Australasia and Pietermaritzburg for Africa.

Lenferna said more than 15 international cycling teams are expected to come into the city for the event.

“We have employed a lot of people to work at the event. People need to be accommodated and fed. There will be a television production that will go out worldwide and definitely put Pietermaritzburg out there,” said Lenferna.

He added that preparations leading up to the big event are coming together well as all the routes have been finalised but the only problem is that with road cycling there are always bound to be road closures and disruptions.

He also said people are welcome to stand on the side of the road and watch the races or come to Midmar Dam, which is the start and finish venue.

The Cervélo-Bigla cycling team is one of the teams which were invited to participate, South African cyclist Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio rides for them and is one to look out for as she participated at the Rio 2016 Olympics and came 12th in the women’s 29,7 km race.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  cycling

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