Pietermaritzburg – South Africa’s track cyclists are abuzz with excitement as they prepare to tackle to the newly refurbished cycle track at Alexandra Park in Pietermaritzburg at next week’s SA National Track & Para Cycling Championships which from part of the newly formed CSA KZN All Africa Challenge.

After years of neglect the home of track cycling in Pietermaritzburg has finally had new life breathed into it and after weeks of major construction and maintenance the site is in tip top shape ahead of its first ever hosting of the champs.

“Preparations have been pretty challenging but have gone well overall,” admitted event organiser Mike Adey. “We’ve done a lot to the actual track itself and now it is up to UCI standards which is very exciting.”

“These developments to the track have been enormous for track cycling in Pietermaritzburg. Track cycling has been around for over a century in the area but this will be the very first national ever hosted here!”

2011NolanLeads.jpg

Nolan Hoffmann, one of South Africa's top track cyclists, will be one of many to experience the recently upgraded track at Alexandra Park, Pietermaritzburg when he takes part in next week's SA National Track & Para Cycling Championships which form part of the CSA KZN All Africa Challenge.

cyclenation. co.za /Gameplan Media

“Hopefully all these developments to the track along with the hype around the nationals will really help kick start things in the region,” he added.

The changes which have been made have been substantial and the tired, somewhat ugly track of old is now alive and kicking once more.

“We’ve had to put in an inner ring run-off area, a railing up around the track, upgrade the lighting, remark the lines, repair holes and cracks in the surface and put in permanent stands as well,” said Adey.

“So there have been some significant changes that have been made but now the track is one of the top three in the country and we are extremely happy with the end product!” he added.

A team of hard working individuals has worked tirelessly to ensure everything was completed in time for the ‘big event’ on the calendar which will host all the various track categories as well as the para cycling categories too.

“The event will host all age groups but our main focus is obviously on the elite and the juniors,” explained Adey.

“There are a couple of guys who compete in the para cycling events as well & it’s a discipline which is on the up at the moment. There are guys with all sorts of different disabilities who will be there next week,” he added.

The upgrade comes at the perfect time for track cycling as PMB rallies together to host for yet another major cycling event with the hope of the CSA KZN All Africa Challenge being to help unify the various disciplines of cycling as well as leave a lasting legacy in the area.

“There is now a top class facility in PMB for guys to train on year-round. I’m sure this will also result in PMB receiving big national events which could even attract some of the top international riders to the region which really would be great,” said Adey.

“This facility now also gives the youngsters in the area the perfect platform to prepare themselves on,” he added.

The SA National Track & Para Cycling Championships, which along with the SA National BMX Championships and the CSA KZN All Africa MTB Challenge form part of the CSA KZN All Africa Challenge, takes place at Alexandra Park from 25-30 April. More info can be found at www.cyclingsa.com