With Malcolm Lange’s new Team Medscheme in the starting line-up, the 24th edition of The Herald Volkswagen Cycle Tour will boast its strongest field ever.
All of the country’s top professional outfits have now confirmed their participation in the Eastern Cape’s premier road race, which will take place on Sunday, February 1.
It seems the 105km feature event – which not only doubles as the opening leg of the new R200 000 Alpha Pharm Seeding Series, but also offers an increased cash incentive of R130 000 – has caught the imagination of the professional peloton.
The other teams that have confirmed their participation are the two UCI Continental teams, House of Paint and Neotel, Konica Minolta and MTN Energade.
Race director Shane Bradfield said it was a feather in the cap for one of the country’s oldest events to launch the new series, which strings together 15 top races countrywide.
According to Lange, captain and team manager, The Herald VW Cycle Tour will only be Team Medscheme’s second race as a unit. Although they are in their infancy stages, the team list includes seasoned professionals like Lange and Nicholas White, who are both past winners.
Lange said they would be looking to ride in as many of the Alpha Pharm Series events as possible and they were hoping to get their campaign off to a good start in Port Elizabeth.
“It’s difficult to predict the outcome of any race, but, yes, we will be racing to win,” he said yesterday. “I’m performance-driven and always ride to win, but will be equally happy if any of my team do so.”
With 395 race wins to his credit in his illustrious career, Lange said it would be great for the sponsor if he was able to reach the magical 400-mark during the course of the year, which is believed to be his final one.
Lange said although he was still focused on his own racing, his emphasis was shifting towards bringing youngsters through the ranks to follow in his footsteps.
Bradfield said the event was now one of the richest in the country. “Winners in the road race will receive a share of R90 000 and in the mountain biking section, R40 000.”
The Herald VW Cycle Tour weekend starts with four mountain bike events on Saturday, January 31, from the Addo Polo Club
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
Avusa – The Herald