The five-stage tour begins with a prologue/team time trial before moving to the eastern Free State for stages one, two and three. The riders return to Gauteng for stage 4 and 5, with the final Criterium race in Midrand promising to be a spectator-friendly event.
According to Velokhaya CEO, Monde Mpongoshe:
“This year’s Mzansi Tour will be a very important platform for Velokhaya, a cycling-based youth development organisation which has, over the past 10 years, produced a number of top black South African cyclists.”
These include Luthando Kaka and Songezo Jim, who will ride this year’s Mzansi Tour as members of their respective teams (Luthando, as captain of Team Bonitas and Songezo, as a member of Team MTN Qhubeka).
Mpongoshe says this year’s Mzansi Tour will benefit Velokhaya in three ways.
“Firstly, it will give Velokhaya the opportunity to show off our latest cycling talent, secondly, it will provide our riders - who will compete against their local and international counterparts – with valuable experience, and thirdly, it will result in important skills development opportunities for the members of the Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy based in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
“This is because Echelon Events, the owners of the Mzansi Tour, have appointed Velokhaya as the Tour’s CSI and skills development beneficiary.
Mpongoshe says the appointment of Velokhaya as the CSI and skills development beneficiary has also been further endorsed by CATHSSETA.
“CATHSSETA, the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority, is supporting the overall transformation of the sport of cycling in a meaningful, sustainable and impactful way by allocating funds for rider/team development and for developing Velokhaya’s skills in the areas of sports administration, events management, coaching, officiating, commentating and media relations.”
Making up the six-man Velokhaya Mzansi Tour team are Khayelitsha’s Thando Zothe, Mthetheleli Boya (current Western Province Under 23 Time Trial Champion), Mihlali Lupuwana and Siyabonga Somciza (pictured). These riders will be joined by two Johannesburg riders from Team New Horizons, Thulasizwe Mxenge and Avhantodi Munyai.
Completing the team are Anele Madlolo as Team Manager, Gladman Erasmus as Mechanic and Andile James as Soigneur. Velokhaya Operations Manager, Sipho Mona will also be the official commentator for the Mzansi Tour for the second year running.