Second Oldest Cycling Classic Revs Up

www.MyPE.co.za: South Africa’s second
oldest national cycling classic kicked up a gear when long-time sponsor
Volkswagen
Group South Africa
reaffirmed its support at the official
launch in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

Win a Polo VivoThe 26th edition of The
Herald
VW Cycle Tour – which comprises the
105-kilometre feature event, several supporting races and a mountain
bike challenge in and around the Addo Elephant National Park – will
take place on 5 and 6 February next year.

According to race director Shane Bradfield, the event, which boasts a
prize purse of R100 000, will be one of 14 national seeding races for
the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour.

Speaking at the launch, Volkswagen Group South Africa general manager
of communications Bill Stephens said it was a superb event for Nelson
Mandela Bay.

“We’re once again proud to be an official partner. Our aim is to make
this an event that people look forward to on the national cycling
calendar.”

Apart from a financial contribution, the vehicle manufacturer has
sponsored a brand new Polo Vivo, valued at R104 000, as a lucky draw
prize.

The Volkswagen group and one of its official dealers, Tavcor
Volkswagen
, will also supply race organisers with 30 lead and
support
vehicles.

Stephens said the benefits of sponsoring the event were two-fold. “It
receives a lot of national coverage and raises the profile of the
metro, which is our home.

“Secondly, the profile of participants fits comfortably with our
customer profile.”

Bradfield said it was an exciting time for cycling in the Eastern Cape.

He said the South African Road Cycling Championships were provisionally
scheduled to take place in Port Elizabeth in the week leading up to the
tour, with the recently launched Tour of South Africa visiting two
weeks later.

In addition, said Bradfield, the South African Masters’ Games would
take place in the city at the end of April.

Pro Tour cyclist John-Lee Augustyn, who grew up in the Friendly City
but now resides in Italy, was also present at the launch.

Although his European racing commitments for Team Sky will prevent him
from taking part, Augustyn said the race had a special place in his
heart.

“The route is incredibly scenic with a good mix of hills and flats. It
doesn’t really assist climbers like myself and often ends in a bunch
sprint.”

Augustyn, who managed a fourth-place finish in 2004 after a failed late
attack, said the winning rider would have to be tactically clever.
“It’s a race that’s won in the last five kilometres.

“Of course, in Port Elizabeth the wind is always a major factor. An
easterly can keep the race together while the westerly usually blows it
apart – so the favourites need to be attentive.”

Bradfield said the race, which gives local riders an opportunity to
test themselves against the top professionals in the country, would
feature two sprint and two King of the Mountains primes.

Former multiple winners include Team Medscheme’s Malcolm Lange, who won
the Cape Argus this year, and Nicholas White, who prevailed in the
Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge last month.

The race starts and finishes at Hobie Beach in front of the Boardwalk
Casino & Entertainment World, where the pre-event expo and
registration also take place.

Supporting sponsors are: Boardwalk
Casino & Entertainment World,
Life
St George’s
Hospital, Mountain Rescue Club, Powerade, Tony’s
Appliances
& Beds, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Bukani
Print
,
Town
Lodge
, Addo Elephant National Park and Action
Cycles
.

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