The City of Pietermaritzburg will play host to the fourth leg of the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup series from 11-13 September. The high-status UCI event bolsters the city’s reputation as “Africa’s Bike City” as they expect an influx of riders, officials, spectators and income from the prestigious international event. Once again South Africa, and in particular KwaZulu-Natal, has proven their credentials to host world-class cycling events.
With the on-going support of the KZN Government partnering with Cycling South Africa, the UCI has clearly recognised the strength of this partnership and rewarded the country and athletes with these prestigious events. Cycling SA Para-cycling Commission Director, Dr Mike Burns, said: ‘This is very big news for us! The UCI withdrew the endorsement of the Para-cycling Track World Championships, which was scheduled for early 2016. In return, we have been offered two Road World Cups (2015 and 2016) and one World Champs (2017). Para-cyclists derive maximum UCI points from two World Cups from two different regions – with Rio 2016 implications regarding rider slots allocated to nations. Hosting a World Cup on the African continent is beneficial as this will be the only World Cup to take place outside of Europe. We will be expecting a large entry field.’ Current UCI Para-cycling Road World Champion, Ernst Van Dyk, is thrilled to be able to compete in a World Cup in his home country, particularly since the events now start tallying UCI points towards the Paralympic qualification for Rio 2016.
Van Dyk says: ‘It is something we have always wanted, and it is nice that it is going to happen. It is not so much of an advantage for us regarding the practice and training as the route won’t be available to us until the race dates. But the added stress of not having to travel internationally will make a big difference for us. In World Cups, there are a very select few that can participate for the national team. With the World Cup taking place in SA, we can field a larger national team; also, any of the local guys can experience what it is like to race amongst an international field as they will be able to enter as independents.’ The 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup adds to the string of prestigious UCI World Cup and World Championship events hosted by the city since 2009, with other events on the cards.
The actual route as well as details of the event are still being finalised and will be announced in due course. The schedule for accreditation and classification will be announced later. For more information, visit the event website: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2015-uci-para-road-world-cup
Photo: The world’s best Para-cyclists will descend upon KwaZulu-Natal in September in a bid to gain maximum UCI points towards the Paralympic qualification for Rio 2016 at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup – Pietermaritzburg from 11-13 September
Photo credit: Illse De Preez