Media Alert: Minister Anroux Marais Declares March the Month of Cycling
The month of March is the global highlight of each cyclist's calendar. It is during this month that cyclists from all over the world meet in the Western Cape to participate in premier cycling events. These events include:
The Cape Rouleur from 28 February – 3 March. The 5 day endurance road event covers 600km and is designed using the same formula as The London-Paris; rolling road closures, professional support and unforgettable riding experiences through the picturesque Franschhoek.
The Cape Town Cycle Tour on 6 March is the largest timed cycle race in the world. Celebrating its 39th year, the Cape Town Cycle Tour will see 35 000 cyclists line up to ride the 109km route through some of the world’s most spectacular scenery that includes the iconic Table Mountain as a backdrop.
The Absa Cape Epic is the most televised mountain bike stage race in the world and the only eight-day (from 13 – 20 March) mountain bike stage race classed as hors catégorie by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
This official UCI status makes it a highlight on the professional racer's calendar. The Absa Cape Epic also attracts aspiring amateur riders wanting to test themselves against the best. A total of 110km of the 652km route will be made up of singletrack trails as the eight-days of riding takes riders from Meerendal Wine Estate to Tulbagh, Wellington, Stellenbosch and back to Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville.
Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais has prioritised cycling for the month of March. Minister Marais said, “Cycling events such as the Cape Rouleur, the Cape Town Cycle Tour and the ABSA Cape Epic undoubtedly make a meaningful contribution to our mission of encouraging excellence and inclusiveness in sport and culture”.
These events also offer a platform for positive role models for our youth. Talented riders from vulnerable communities are selected to participate in various programmes such as the Young Riders Development Programme.
Established in 2013 by the founder of HotChillee, Sven Thiele, the Young Riders Development Programme is designed to offer a platform for young South African development riders to become international athletes. HotChillee currently works with local cycling organisations - JAG, Velokhaya, and Cape Town Giants - as they support young talent to compete in major global races.
Minister Marais will soon make an announcement that will change the lives of two participating young riders from the Western Cape.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, welcomed the Cape Town Cycle Tour riders to the province and wished them well ahead of the race this weekend.
Minister Winde has entered the Cape Town Cycle Tour to raise funds for the Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy and Iris House. He said the prestigious cycling events hosted in the Western Cape during March generated close to R800 million for the local economy.
“These races showcase the diversity of the province as a cycling destination. Premier races are the cornerstone of our cycle tourism strategy, which aims to promote the Western Cape as a cycle-friendly destination for casual and competitive cyclists. With this strategy, it is my goal to attract 100 000 cycling tourists to the province each year.”
Minister Marais will officially shoot off the Cape Town Cycle Tour on Sunday, 6 March as well as the ABSA Cape Epic on 13 March 2016.