By FOCUS REPORTER
The 2011 Tour of South Africa (ToSA) race routes were unveiled at the official launch of the UCI approved 2.2 category, 8 day, 7 stage road race which will take place in February next year.
The Tour of South Africa will start in Gauteng and end in the winelands of Stellenbosch. In conjunction with the route reveal news of already confirmed international and local teams, race director and working team introductions were punted.
Sponsor announcement will be made closer to the time.
The intention of the chosen route is to showcase the heritage and beauty of our country, enabling international guests and local travellers to continue to feel and experience the warmth of South Africa and its people after the success of the FIFA World Cup 2010.
The Tour of South Africa has been carefully timed to follow on from the Tour Down Under in Australia and before the major events in Europe. With the exceptional hospitality that has been planned for the teams, and the great weather prevalent in South Africa in February, will make it a real “must go to event” on the Global Cycling Calendar.
The event is fully sanctioned by the UCI and will be operated under their auspices and governing regulations. It is also sanctioned and supported by Cycling South Africa, the Department of Sport and Recreation and SASCOC.
The inaugural Tour of South Africa will start on Saturday, 19
th February 2011 in Pretoria and end on Saturday, 26th February in Stellenbosch.
The possibility of a Tour of South Africa has been a topic of discussion amongst cyclists and cycling enthusiasts for many years and something the professionals have wanted to see come to fruition – now it will, thanks to the commitment of our partner Primedia Sport” says Barry Mocke, CEO Cycling South Africa.
“With the commitment and vision of Cycling South Africa and the partnership between us and Primedia Sport, this vision and much talked about cycling event is set to become South Africa’s own Tour de France”.
“In cycling we currently have the Tour de France, Tour of California, Tour Down Under, each representing a continent, with its different cycling history and culture. A few days ago an agreement was signed with the Chinese authorities and next season we will have the Tour of Beijing in our UCI World Tour.
In other words, Asia will join our top series as the fourth continent. So I couldn’t be happier today, at the occasion of this presentation – that there is a new major African race with growing ambition which means our sport will really become universal soon,” says Pat McQuaid, President of the UCI.
The time of year the Tour of South Africa takes place is ideal for cyclists to sharpen their form and get the final quality miles in before the Spring Classics start in earnest in Europe.
Cycling South Africa’s 2020 Vision, launched earlier this year, clearly laid out its plan to host a tour of this nature amongst a number of other interesting and much needed programmes.
“An important aspect of our strategy is developing professional riding in South Africa and creating a spectator focused event that also allows for the promotion of South Africa. The Tour of South Africa could therefore be one of the biggest sporting events and achievements of the 2011 season,” says Barry Mocke, CEO Cycling South Africa.
“The partnership between Cycling South Africa and Primedia Sport harnesses the level of expertise that both parties can deliver. The combined knowledge, business acumen, enthusiasm and relationships between the companies can only benefit the project and further entice commercial success,” says Franco Barocas, Managing Director of PrimeRights, Primedia Sport Company managing this project.