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Locals seek UCI spots

The Msunduzi Road Challenge gets under way with a time trial on Saturday and a big field assembled for the road race on Sunday, with top local riders eyeing the chance to secure qualification for next year’s UCI World Cycling Tour final over the same course by finishing in the top 25% of their class.

The Msunduzi Road Challenge is a brand new event on the national road cycling calendar, and the only African leg of the new UCI World Cycling Tour that is aimed at amateur cyclists and mass participation of recreational road cyclists.

Weather forecasts for the weekend hint at possible drizzle throughout, but experienced road cyclists have said that the cool, damp conditions will favour competitive cycling, particularly as the routes don’t have any dangerous corners.

ÔÇ£A bit of rain would actually be ideal because it will still be warm enough for the guys to be comfortable but it will just help keep the motor cool,ÔÇØ said local former Masters World Champion Mike Adey. ┬áÔÇ£There aren’t any really sharp corners or steep downhills that might be an issue on a slippery surface, so the rain really won’t be too much of a hassle.ÔÇØ

The event starts with an individual time trial based in the Lion Park area on Saturday morning, covering a 27km course that will be demanding for the cyclists that have entered, according to Adey.

ÔÇ£The time trial will be tough. Considering the guys will finish higher than they start just shows how difficult it is going to be. There are some tricky technical sections and there are also sections where they’ll be able to get into a bit of a groove but it definitely is going to be challenging and is certainly going to be a ‘hard man’s’ time trial,ÔÇØ said Adey.

On Sunday the attention shifts to the Pietermaritzburg city centre at 7am as the first of the age group pelotons leaves Alexandra Park under full road closure and heads out down Ohrtmann Road towards Baynes Drift road and on towards Albert Falls Dam for the road race split between distances of 126km, 111km and 90km. Once in the vicinity of Albert Falls dam the three race routes continue under partial road closure, allowing traffic in an oncoming direction on the routes around New Hanover, Dalton, Harburg and Wartburg before returning to finish at Alexandra Park.

ÔÇ£The Msunduzi Road Challenge is an amateur event and there is no prize money involved, but recognition of the achievements in the veteran and masters classes is very important,ÔÇØ said Cycling South Africa’s head of recreational cycling Dave Bellairs.


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