9 November 2011
The inaugural Msunduzi Road Challenge has been given the thumbs-up by cyclists and organisers alike, after the recent road cycling and time trial event was declared a perfect dress rehearsal for next year’s all-important race, which also doubles as the UCI World Cycling Tour Final.
The routes for all three distances of the road race, as well as the time trial course, were extremely well received by all the riders taking part, with everyone agreeing that whilst they were hilly and somewhat demanding they were most certainly fair as well.
“I think we all found it very hot out there and quite windy on the up hills, but the route was great!” said Maurice Connor of the 90km route.
‘A great route’
“It was a tough race but a great route that was challenging throughout,” added Mark Langman, who finished first in the 50-54 years category.
Riders were also unanimous in their praise of the road closures implemented throughout the event, which saw organisers take both riders’ needs, as well as the impact on some of the local communities, into careful consideration.
“We had some concerns brought to our attention shortly before the event by some key role players in some of the outer lying communities regarding the full road closure plan we had developed,” said event director Alec Lenferna.
“Everything had been signed off by the RTI well in advance, but we realised the need to take every possible step to reduce the impact of this race on the people along the route as without these people this race would not be possible.
‘Extremely well received’
“What we eventually managed to put into practice, with brief full road closures and directional road closure for the balance of the road race, seems to have been extremely well received by both the riders themselves and the local residents, which is very pleasing for us as organisers,” he added.
Lenferna repeated his thanks to the residents of Pietermaritzburg for their support and understanding during the event. “The city is establishing itself as a cycling mecca and the local residents really understood the race needs and were happy to fit in around the road usage information that was available in print and on the event website.”
He added that the 2012 event,which will host the UCI World Cycling Tour finals, will be held under full road closure, and would allow the city and the region to once again enjoy massive exposure worldwide through a major cycling event.
On the right track
Road cycling legend Andrew McLean, the only rider to post a sub-40 minute time during the men’s time trial, confirmed organisers were definitely on the right track as far as preparations ahead of next year’s final go and rated the route right up there on an international stage.
“I found the road race and time trial routes fantastic. No huge climbs, but enough to make it challenging,” said McLean.
“The road traffic control was excellent and the road surface was no different to those we race on in Europe.”
CyclingSA and the race organisers were also applauded for their decision to extend the age groups up to an 85+ category, which gave the stalwarts of the sport a rare yet hugely appreciated opportunity to compete against those of similar age, strength and ability.
The 2012 Msunduzi Road Challenge takes place over the same routes from 23 to 26 August.
All information can be found on the Msunduzi Road Challenge website.
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