28 October 2011

South Africa’s cycling capital to host the Msunduzi Road Challenge

Pietermaritzburg is gearing up for the Msunduzi Road Challenge.

Sugen Pillay, South African Tourism Global Manager of Events Sugen Pillay, South African Tourism Global Manager of Events

The Msunduzi Road Challenge’s status as a qualifying event for the 2012 UCI World Cycling Tour Final gives it even greater stature on the global stage and allows us to reiterate South Africa’s unique offering to cycling and other sports enthusiasts.  - Sugen Pillay, Global Manager: Events at South African Tourism.

THE KWAZULU NATAL city of Pietermaritzburg is gearing up to host the globally-significant Msunduzi Road Challenge this weekend. The Msunduzi is an off-road cycling race that attracts competitors from all over the world.

The Msunduzi Road Challenge is only the start, though. In 2013 Pietermartizburg hosts the 2013 Mountain Bike World Championships, and it will be the first time ever the event is being staged on the African continent.

Martizburg’s rich history, wonderful wide open and wild spaces and success in hosting events of this nature before has made it the capital of recreational cycling in South Africa, and one of the world’s off-road cycling hotspots. The area offers the best venue in South Africa for this sport.

The Msunduzi Road Challenge brings an economic shot in the arm to the city as both cyclists and spectators from all over flock to watch the cream of the crop battle it out through the city’s green hills and rolling plains as competitors vie to qualify for the 2012 UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Cycling Tour Final. The city is no stranger to global cycling events. It has hosted the 2009 & 2011 UCI MTB World Cup, 2009 & 2011 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup and 2010 UCI BMX World Championships as well as the 2008 World’s View Challenge – a series of 5 x UCI 1.1 races that attracted many of the top cycling teams in the world.

“The Msunduzi Road Challenge’s status as a qualifying event for the 2012 UCI World Cycling Tour Final gives it even greater stature on the global stage and allows us to reiterate South Africa’s unique offering to cycling and other sports enthusiasts,” says Sugen Pillay, Global Manager: Events at South African Tourism. “Supporting the Msunduzi was a natural, and happy, decision for us as it helps to enhance South Africa’s status as a global sports tourism destination.”

2011 is the first time this qualifier event has been staged in Africa. There are 10 qualifying events. Pietermaritzburg is the second qualifying event on the calendar.

Pietermaritzburg’s rugged terrain, mountainous regions and proven capability in hosting sports events has made it a firm favourite on the UCI World Cycling Tour agenda, with many looking forward to exploring the routes that have made the city synonymous with appealing and exciting cycling action. The city has also hosted a number of local events outside of cycling such as the Comrades Marathon, Midmar Mile and regular horse racing at the Scottsville Race Track.

Starting with a time trial on Saturday 29 October, the main road race offers three distance options from 90km to 111km and 126km, across the beautiful KZN midlands and around Albert Falls dam. With race groups across 13 different ages, anyone from 16 to 89 can take part in the event, destined to provide the perfect opportunity to enjoy a competitive burst in the saddle ahead of upcoming cycling events such as the 94.7 Cycle Challenge to be held in Johannesburg in November.

Ends

For further information contact:

Jermaine Craig at South African Tourism
Tel: +27 11 895 3000 or 083 2010 121

Email: jermaine@southafrica.net

Website www.southafrica.net

Inquiries at Ireland/Davenport can be directed to:

Allison MacDonald at Ireland Davenport

Tel: +27 11 463 2252 or 082 771 2541.

Email: Allison.macdonald@ireland-davenport.co.za

Register on our media extranet to browse the latest news releases (from SAT as well as the tourism industry in general), access the news archive and get details of all upcoming tourism industry events (both locally and internationally).

www.southafrica.net/media

South African Tourism is the national tourism agency responsible for the marketing of South Africa as a preferred tourist destination. It is headed up by Chief Executive Officer, Ms Thandiwe January-McLean, Chief Operating Officer Mr Timothy Scholtz and Chief Marketing Officer, Ms Roshene Singh.