The Takealot Tour of Good Hope‘s status as a UCI-classified event for 2019 will provide a major incentive for professional competitors to enter one of South Africa’s premier road tours.
The five-day race, which takes place in the Cape Winelands from March 4 to 8, will have UCI status for the first time and Cycling SA general manager Mike Bradley believed it was a step in the right direction.
He said it was their aim to develop more UCI-classified races in the country to provide greater opportunities for local cyclists.
The Tour of Good Hope joins the only other event in South Africa with a UCI 2.2 ranking, the Tour de Limpopo.
“Having these sorts of races is important for our riders because it allows them to earn points in events close to home,” said Bradley.
“And then, even when they do have to travel, at least they have collected UCI points, which makes them contenders to be considered for Continental or Pro Continental outfits.”
Bradley said another benefit of having UCI status was the potential to attract strong foreign outfits.
“International teams don’t look at anything that’s not UCI-rated,” he said.
“I have already had some interest from teams abroad for the Tour of Good Hope.
“It’s important to attract international competition to local races as it provides stronger competition for our cyclists and prepares them better for what to expect overseas.”
He added that a 2.2 classification was the starting point for any race wanting international status and that the UCI prescribed a minimum prize fund.
“But an event such as the Tour of Good Hope already provides well above the prize-money required so it was really a matter of providing the necessary documentation to gain UCI status.”
A unique element of the Tour of Good Hope is that it allows amateurs to compete in the same event as professionals, albeit in separate starting groups.
Apart from the general classification for individuals, next year’s amateur race will have a strong focus on the overall team competition.