The Bestmed Tour of Good Hope will present a new race venue in the Drakenstein Correctional Centre next year, connecting the event with legendary statesman Nelson Mandela.
Situated between Paarl and Franschhoek, the facility, formerly known as the Victor Verster Prison, housed the former South African president for the last 14 months of his 27 years in prison.
It will act as the Tour of Good Hope’s race village from March 5 to 9, with an international field of cyclists starting and finishing under the famous Madiba statue at the entrance, adjacent to the gates through which he took his first steps to freedom in 1990.
The correctional centre’s communications manager Manfred Jacobs said it was the perfect opportunity to host the Tour of Good Hope, presented by the City of Drakenstein, as it would tie in with the 100 years’ celebration for Mandela.
“Next year, Madiba would have turned 100 so it is a special occasion,” he said.
“We want to build on the legacy of Madiba, which is about getting people together. If we can do it through sport, that’s even better because of his belief in the power of sport.”
Having already had a strong connection with the race, Jacobs said they were looking forward to becoming the new venue as they had plenty of space and facilities to host the cyclists.
“It is one of the prime races in the Cape Winelands area and it is fantastic to be involved with it.”
ASG Events’ operational manager Darren Herbst said they were delighted with the move and felt it would work really well for the five-day event.
He added that the crossing of the public road outside the facility was one of the major factors they had solved from the previous year when the race was hosted by La Paris Estate while starting in front of the prison.
“With the start and finish inside the centre, that issue has been removed,” said Herbst.
The Tour of Good Hope will cover a total distance of 490km in the Cape Winelands.