By Thabisile Masimula
NEW ROAD RACING REGULATIONS will be implemented for the first time in the Eastern Cape on Sunday, February 6. This statement was made by Cycling South Africa’s (CSA) at The Herald VW Cycle Tour national classic in Port Elizabeth.
CSA road commission director Hendrik Lemmer says the new rules were an attempt to move away from age and gender-based categories to strength versus strength system.
“In category one, all the top elite, U/23, junior and veteran teams will be racing against each other, while category two will pit individual cyclists and informal teams against the top women’s teams. The top countries have a strength-based system, which works well” said Lemmer.
The national body’s overview document explains how the new categories will decrease the jump from local to international racing and therefore make South African cycling in the long term more aggressive.
“Categories three and four would field the spill over of fully licensed cyclists from the first two divisions. These categories will see influential women competing against male riders for the first time” he added.
Meanwhile, women’s race winner Marissa van der Merwe of newly-established Team USN says racing with the men nearly cancelled out any team tactics among the women and it mostly became a test of strength.
“It is certainly going to make our women faster in the long run.” Said an adamant Van Der Merwe
The new categories were put to the test for the first time in this past weekend’s 106km Pick n Pay Fast One in Johannesburg.