Cy­clists sad­dle up for Knysna Tour

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

the cold tem­per­a­tures which are ex­pected re­main in sin­gle dig­its for most of the day in the coastal hol­i­day town.

While the main events – the 80km and 50km races – have be­come must-do events for some of the coun­try’s top cy­clists who will bat­tle it out for over­all vic­tory once again, it has also be­come a pop­u­lar event to hone the skills of fu­ture cy­cling stars.

Tour mar­ket­ing man­ager An­drew Finn said more than 100 de­vel­op­ment rid­ers were par­tic­i­pat­ing this year.

“We be­lieve it is im­por­tant the sport be made ac­ces­si­ble to any­one who pre­vi­ously did not have the op­por­tu­nity. This will not only en­cour­age cy­cling as a sport in the broader com­mu­nity, but also as a trans­port medium,” Finn said.

One of the big­gest groups of de­vel­op­ment rid­ers tak­ing part this year is 26 cy­clists from the Ned­bank Sports Trust De­vel­op­ment Cy­cling in Cape Town.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion’s cy­cling pro­gramme man­ager Cheryl Mor­ris said one of the main rea­sons the Knysna event was so pop­u­lar among de­vel­op­ment rid­ers was that it pro­vided rid­ers with a safe, yet chal­leng­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It is one thing to take part in small lo­cal races. We reg­u­larly or­gan­ise races within the com­mu­ni­ties we work in, but the rid­ers need to gain proper race ex­pe­ri­ence. The Mo­men­tum Week­end Ar­gus Knysna Cy­cle Tour pro­vides just that. It is a well-or­gan­ised and safe en­vi­ron­ment for the young- sters to test their skills and gain valu­able race ex­pe­ri­ence, es­pe­cially in larger groups,” Mor­ris said.

Finn said or­gan­is­ers en­cour­aged de­vel­op­ment rid­ers to par­tic­i­pate by giv­ing them a sub­stan­tial dis­count on their en­try fees.

To­day’s two main events – the 50km and 80km moun­tain bike routes – are both of­fi­cial pre­mier seed­ing events for next year’s Cape Town Cy­cle Tour.

There are also less strenu- ous races, in­clud­ing a 30km and a 15km route which in­cludes ac­cess to pri­vately owned sec­tions of prop­erty usu­ally off-lim­its to the pub­lic.

The routes were set up and man­aged by renowned route de­signer Leon “Dr Evil” Evans, who also man­ages the Absa Cape Epic routes. Finn said while Evans en­sured that cy­clists would be rid­ing through some of the most scenic ar­eas on the Gar­den Route, they would also have their skills put to the test.

To­mor­row about 2 000 rid­ers will line up for the tour’s two road races – a 115km and a 50km route. – Gar­den Route Me­dia

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