Title sponsor Volkswagen Group South Africa, who will be giving away a VW Polo 1.4 Trendline worth R170 000, has committed itself to the event for the ninth year running.

HCT launch 3.jpg

Port Elizabeth-based pro cyclist Kellan Gouveris (left) joined Volkswagen Group South Africa’s general manager of communications Matt Gennrich (right) on the scenic route of The Herald VW Cycle Tour. Gouveris’ Tasol-GT team-mate James Perry is the reigning champion. Photo: Coetzee Gouws/Full Stop Communications

The total prize purse has been increased to R114 000, with R10 000 going to the winners of the Ultimate Quest – a new category for riders competing in both the 80km Extreme mountain bike challenge and 106km Classic road race.

According to VWSA’s general manager of communications Matt Gennrich, the Polo is the second-best selling car in South Africa after the Polo Vivo, which was this year’s grand prize.

“With this being a premium event, we felt that it was appropriate to offer the VW Polo as an even bigger drawcard for entering the tour.”

Gennrich said group managing director David Powels would hand the keys to one lucky entrant during the attendance draw at the prize giving in The Boardwalk Convention Centre after the Sunday feature race.

As SA’s second oldest national classic, he said it was in the interests of both the sponsor and Nelson Mandela Bay to grow the event and attract more participants from across the country.

“We would like to see The Herald VW Cycle Tour enjoy a similar status to that of the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour in Cape Town and the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge in Johannesburg.”

Gennrich said the cycle tour was one of the metro’s premier sporting events and, as such, was a good fit for the company.

“As the biggest ratepayer in the city, we believe that this is one way of giving something back to the community aside from all our other CSI initiatives.”

In addition, he said it dovetailed with the company’s philosophy of keeping its employees healthy through encouraging their participation in sport.

“For years we have had a small sports complex on our property which offers a number of codes, including cycling. This complex, which is due to open next year, is being upgraded into a multi-purpose sports and recreational facility called the PeoplePavilion.”

VWSA would also supply more than 20 support vehicles as part of its sponsorship package, said Gennrich.

The Herald’s chief marketing officer Justin Peel said participants in the 106km Classic could also look forward to a new route, which included one or two surprises along the way.

“We felt the route needed to be adjusted to bring it in line with some of the other top feature races on the South African cycling calendar.”

The weekend festival of cycling kicks off on the Saturday with the mountain bike challenges in Addo and Powerade-sponsored family road events at Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth. The action wraps up with the feature road races on the Sunday.

For more info or to enter, go to www.heraldcycletour.co.za. For updates as they happen, follow @heraldcycletour or like www.facebook.com/TheHeraldCycleTour.