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The first two days of the inaugural Cell C Tour of South Africa will weave an intricate pattern through Johannesburg, showing cyclists some of the city’s top tourist attractions.
THE eight-day, seven-stage Cell C Tour of South Africa will offer cyclists a pleasant ride, showcasing some of Joburg’s heritage sites in its first stage. Major attractions on the route include the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Constitution Hill, the Apartheid Museum and Soweto.

 

The Joburg Art GalleryThe Joburg Art Gallery in Joubert ParkThe race starts on Saturday, 19 February at 9am in Joburg’s northern neighbour, Tshwane, and finishes a week later on 26 February in the winelands of Stellenbosch. The prize money is R500 000, making it the richest road race in the country sanctioned by Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
 

In stage one, the ride will be 167 kilometres long on the first day, going through the Cradle of Humankind before finishing on Witkoppen Road, outside Montecasino, in Fourways. On the second day, the roundabout route will go through Roodepoort and Soweto, past FNB Stadium and the Johannesburg CBD, and then back to the north through loops in and around Sandton. In all, day two will cover 156 kilometres.

Spectators in Joburg are urged to line the stage one route to support their teams and witness the start of South Africa’s first international cycling event.

About 120 cyclists have confirmed they will compete. The final list of starters comprises 20 teams made up of 14 international riders and six local teams. Participating teams include Team Willems Accent, Europcar, Russia National Team, Team Burgos 2016, UCI African Team, MTN Qhubeka, Team Bonitas, Toyota CSA, Czech Republic, Morocco and team Tasol GT.

Barry Mocke, the chief executive of Cycling South Africa, says most of the teams have arrived in the country already, and are acclimatising and enjoying a few days of rest while preparing for the “whoosh” of excitement the Cell C Tour of South Africa will bring.

 

Con HillCon Hill in the inner city“Although all the teams have confirmed and booked their spots, we are awaiting the final starting list. We are very excited at how it’s all coming together. The support from the municipalities, tourism authorities and [the] public so far has been fantastic,” says Mocke.
 

Rest day
The third day of the race will be set aside for rest and transfer, with riders driven to Port Elizabeth. Cycling will continue on 22 February, starting off at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and heading through Addo Elephant National Park and back to Port Elizabeth. There will be a city circuit, before the finish in Summerstrand on the beachfront, 160 kilometres later.

On the final day, the tour will start and finish in beautiful, historic Stellenbosch. The route on this day will comprise a number of loops, including through the town centre.

Jeroen Swart, the director of the high performance cycling service at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and a member of the anti-doping organisation Drug Free Sport, has been hired as race doctor. He will examine the results of participants and check the drug testing.

“As one of the fastest growing sports in the world and being in its inaugural year, the Cell C Tour of South Africa has attracted a number of highly ranked local and international teams; it’s an honour to be a part of the team,” he says.

Anti-doping testing promotes participation in sports without using performance enhancing substances. The use of these is against the principles of fair play and medical ethics.

 

Apartheid MuseumApartheid Museum is one of the attractions along the CellC Tour of SA route “Anti-doping is a vital part of all sporting codes and adds value in the sense that it increases the credibility of the tour and the results and ensures that riders are participating on a professional and fair level. The Cell C Tour of South Africa is a very high profile event,” explains the doctor.
 

Road restrictions
Race organisers have warned motorists in Gauteng to take note of road restrictions during the race. They should check the stage one map online to find the best route to use. The map is accompanied by a detailed road schedule and estimated time frame of when restrictions can be expected.

“We are alerting you to the routes early with the intent of causing as little inconvenience as possible in relation to the Cell C Tour of South Africa. Please note that these are rolling road restrictions and not total road closures, so you will be delayed in bursts of anything from 10 minutes to 45 minutes pending on the routes you choose,” the organisers say in a press statement.

The tour has been strategically planned to follow the Tour Down Under in Australia and before major cycling events in Europe. It is a sanctioned 2.2 category UCI event and is supported by Cycling South Africa, the Department of Sport and Recreation and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee. It is backed by Primedia Sport and sponsored by mobile network company, Cell C.

The Cell C Tour of South Africa will be broadcast live on Supersport.

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