18 June 2014
Pietermaritzburg was awarded the rights to host the 2016 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships at a meeting of the UCI management committee in Lausanne, Switzerland last week.
Africa’s “Bike City” has already hosted many different world-class UCI events and the new announcement has been warmly welcomed by the local and international para-cycling communities.
Nation points for Rio Olympics
Cycling South Africa’s Para-cycling Commission Director Mike Burns, said in a statement: “The World Championship event is an extremely important final event in which nation points will be earned ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Riders are very excited about coming to South Africa. It will be a first for most of the competitors.
“There will be quite a bit of adapting in terms of racing technique on an imperial distance track. Adding to that factor, they will be racing on an open track, which will add another set of variables, not encountered in an indoor velodrome. This is certain to add something unique to the competition.”
The main events will be the Time Trial, Pursuit, Team Sprint and Scratch races.
A first for Africa
Cycling South Africa’s President, William Newman, said: “We are very happy to be awarded yet another prominent World Championship event in Pietermaritzburg. It is fantastic for our para-cyclists, and it is the first time that the Para-cycling Track World Champs will be coming to Africa. We are very proud to be hosting the event.
“It is a great opportunity for our Para-cyclists to be competing in an event of this stature, on home soil, and a fantastic accolade for Pietermaritzburg to once again host an event of a high calibre.”
Cycling South Africa’s General Manager Mike Bradley commented: “Being awarded yet another world-class, international cycling event supports the continuation of the Africa ‘Bike City’ concept. We are appreciative of the support of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government in sharing our vision in creating Pietermaritzburg as our City of Cycling.
“Having the event on home soil is the best opportunity for our athletes to qualify for Rio 2016 in our own country.”
Pietermaritzburg’s track record
The city of Pietermaritzburg has hosted, and will host, some of the most prestigious cycling events on the global calendar.
In August 2013, the first ever UCI MTB and Trials World Championships held on African soil was hailed a great success. This followed the 2010 UCI BMX World Championships and the 2012 UCI World Cycling Tour Final.
In addition, Pietermaritzburg has hosted the 2013 UCI MTB Masters World Champs, the 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014 UCI MTB World Cups and the 2013 UCI World Cycling Tour (UWCT).
Coming soon, later this month, is the 2014 Rainbow Challenge, the 2014 UCI MTB Marathon World Champs and the 2014 UWCT, with the hosting of the 2015 Confederation of African Cycling Forum set to take place next year.