Tsh­wane Clas­sic set to pedal to a top race

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS -

OR­GAN­ISER Mau­ritz Meyer is hop­ing the Tsh­wane Clas­sic will be­come one of the coun­try’s premier road cy­cling races, with this year’s event tak­ing place in Pre­to­ria on Novem­ber 5.

Meyer, who is work­ing along­side ASG Events on the race, has been the driv­ing force be­hind a bid to el­e­vate the oc­ca­sion to one of the top three mass-par­tic­i­pa­tion road races in South Africa, along­side the Cape Town Cy­cle Tour and 94.7 Cy­cle Chal­lenge, which is based in Joburg.

In 2017 the race, pre­vi­ously held in var­i­ous guises, has rein­vented it­self as Pre­to­ria’s fea­ture road event, after sup­port from lo­cal gov­ern­ment and the com­mu­nity.

Meyer, who has a legacy in pol­i­tics and Spring­bok rugby, said a dis­cus­sion with coun­cil­lor Sakkie du Plooy had paved the way to get the Tsh­wane Coun­cil on board. “I was telling Sakkie what we were try­ing to achieve and he was very en­thu­si­as­tic.”

Once Meyer had met with the coun­cil, they got be­hind the project as they wanted to use the oc­ca­sion to pro­mote Pre­to­ria as a top tourist des­ti­na­tion.

“That is why we have cre­ated a route that starts and fin­ishes at the Voortrekker Mon­u­ment and takes in land­marks such as the Union Build- ings, Paul Kruger statue, Free­dom Park and Won­der­boom Air­port,” he said.

Con­sol­i­dat­ing the city’s sup­port of the event was their agree­ment to to­tal road clo­sure for the 98km race, which Meyer said was a huge bonus for the safety of the cy­clists. Meyer said he re­ceived a hugely en­cour­ag­ing re­ac­tion from the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“I sent a let­ter ex­plain­ing our idea to all the cy­cling clubs in the re­gion and the feed­back I re­ceived was (very) pos­i­tive,” he said.

Although not a cy­clist him­self, Meyer has be­come heav­ily in­volved in or­gan­ised cy­cling events, his first ven­ture into cy­cling be­ing 15 years ago. He worked at the Van­der­bi­jl­park cam­pus of the (now) North-West Univer­sity and wanted to raise funds to as­sist stu­dents in need.

“After the rec­tor told me some stu­dents did not have enough money for food, I de­cided to or­gan­ise a cy­cle race to as­sist them and we did a cam­pus-to-cam­pus event from Potch to Van­der­bi­jl­park,” said Meyer.

“I re­tired seven years ago and moved to Pre­to­ria, where my daugh­ter lives.” Now his full at­ten­tion is on mak­ing the Tsh­wane Clas­sic a high-pro­file event. – ANA

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