Cyclists will be confronted with a collection of Pretoria’s famous landmarks when the country’s capital hosts the Tshwane Classic road cycling race on November 5.
Put on by ASG Events, the organisers have planned a 98km route which will take riders past several well-known monuments reflecting the diverse history of the city and the country.
Tshwane executive mayor Solly Msimanga said the event would illustrate a significant connection between Pretoria and cycling.
“During the South African war (1899-1902), commander Danie Theron asked permission from the ZAR (Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek) to establish a bicycle corps to use for scouting instead of horses,” said Msimanga.
“The role of Pretoria in the history of South Africa is significant as it was the capital of the ZAR. Then it became the capital of the Union of South Africa (in 1910) and is presently capital of the new democratic Republic of South Africa.”
Race spokesman Mauritz Meyer said the Voortrekker Monument, completed in 1948, would be the start and finish venue for the race.
“The riders will also go past the Kgosi Mampuru ll Correctional Centre, which was formerly known as the Pretoria Central Prison,” he said.
The riders can then view the Kruger statue in the centre of Church Square, commemorating former South African president Paul Kruger, before going past the Union Buildings, completed in 1913.
“A statue of Nelson Mandela, first president of the democratic South Africa, is at the front of the buildings,” said Meyer.
“Another major landmark on the route is Freedom Park. It was completed in 2004 and is a memorial to honour those who sacrificed their lives for freedom.
Msimanga said they wanted to welcome all cyclists to their historical city.
“As you can see, the city has many interesting attractions and places of historical value. This race will be unique on the South African cycle calendar as it will also be a tourist route.”
While the elite riders and adults tackle the road races over distances of 98km and 60km, the younger generation will be fully catered for with a series of events within the race venue at the Voortrekker Monument.