South Africa’s second oldest national classic, which takes place in Port Elizabeth on February 3, is an official premier seeding event of the Cycle Tour.
As such, race director Tony Cooney said they would bypass the short but challenging 1km Slanghoogte climb to bring the course in line with similar seeding events across the country.
Cooney said although the climb was regularly ridden by social cyclists in training, one corner had a gradient of 17.1 per cent, which was higher than the benchmark of 14 per cent set by the notorious Suikerbossie climb in the Western Cape event.
“Although this ascent would have added a new dimension to the racing upfront, the event is also about the less competitive rider.”
Chief executive officer David Bellairs echoed his sentiments, saying that the trust was concerned about balancing the needs of the recreational cyclist with those of the more experienced professionals.
“The Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour is about the promotion of mass participation cycling and, as such, seeks to partner with events of a similar mind.”
Cooney said the change would still see riders proceed along the old Seaview Road and through the coastal hamlet.
“Climbing out of Seaview, they will now continue on the main road to Colleen Glen instead of turning onto the secondary road, which effectively cuts out the 1km Slanghoogte climb.”
Entries for the event close on Monday. Late entries will be accepted at registration on Friday, February 1, subject to a 50% penalty fee.
Enter at www.heraldcycletour.co.za. For updates, follow @heraldcycletour or like www.facebook.com/TheHeraldCycleTour.
Port Elizabeth’s John-Lee Augustyn training on the route of The Herald VW Cycle Tour. Photo: Coetzee Gouws/Fullstop