Excitement runs high as the province gears itself to welcome teams and organisers of the inaugural Tour de Limpopo at the official opening on Sunday.
The route between Polokwane and Tzaneen will host some big cycling names battling it out for out for general classification, sprinter’s jersey, king of the mountain, best young rider and most aggressive rider as well as overall team classification in the first ever Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 2.2 four-stage race to commence from the old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday.
Limpopo Tourism Agency (LTA) joined with Cycling South Africa to host the race during which cyclists will cover a combined distance of more than 400 km during the four days competing for a grand total of R168 000 prize money.
The race will start at the stadium at 09:00 on Monday with the first stage already offering cyclists the opportunity to earn the sprinter’s jersey on the 27 km mark as well as the opportunity to be crowned king of the maintain at the 56,6 km mark, the highest point of the route at 1 266 m above sea level.
On day two they will cycle from Tzaneen to Magoebaskloof and Mankweng turning back to Tzaneen via Modjadiskloof covering a distance of 175 km. Day three cyclists will compete in a time trial in Tzaneen before making their way back to Polokwane for the final 116 km on the fourth day. The first riders are expected back at the stadium at 11:33 on Thursday.
LTA Chief Executive Officer Nomasonto Ndlovu indicated in a press release that a welcoming gathering will also be hosted at Paledi Mall on Monday morning and invited community members to join the build-up event and to encourage cyclists as they are expected to pass the point at the mall at about 09:55.
“Tour de Limpopo aims to set a new precedent in stage racing. One that will develop and leave a legacy of continued and sustained cycling development, investment into community SMME’s as service providers to the event. This will be an opportunity to showcase Limpopo as a premier adventure tourism destination with so much to enjoy,” she was quoted to have said.
Spectators are encouraged to look out for South Africa’s ProTouch Pro Cycling team and to support them as they compete among 20 local and international professional cycling teams.
For more information visit www.tourdelimpopo.co.za.
Story: RC Myburgh