Participants in the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour can improve their odds of success when they sign up for the West Rand’s largest cycle race and newest seeding event, the Optimum Berge en Dale Classic.
Presented by ASG Events, the 97km race rolls out from Silverstar Casino in Muldersdrift on February 9, exactly one month before the Cycle Tour in Cape Town.
“It’s perfectly placed on the racing calendar, giving riders enough time to recover before the Argus,” says race organiser Wynand de Villiers.
With four big climbs to test the legs, the 14th edition of the Optimum Berge en Dale certainly lives up to its name and will be a fantastic fitness barometer, says De Villiers.
“Strong climbers usually come to the fore on the undulating course. I believe it’s the nearest in terms of difficulty of all the big races leading up to the tour.”
He says the route begins with the well-known Hillsnacks ascent, which used to be a category four climb in the now-defunct Rapport Tour. “It’s a six-kilometre monster with a seven per cent gradient.
“The final climb back to the R28 doesn’t have a name but, with just 10 kilometres to go, it’s a backbreaker that has seen many an unfit cyclist walking up.”
And just when you thought the worst was over, riders encounter the sting in the tail – a short uphill drag along the highway to the finish. “It’s pure torture after 97 kilometres of hard riding.”
But, he says, those are the only perils to worry about. “The road surface is good throughout and the roads are nice and quiet.
“The race is known as one of the safest in Gauteng – we get a lot of assistance from the Mogale City metro traffic officers.”
De Villiers says the awarding of seeding status is a great reward for four years of hard work since taking over the reigns of the original community event from Weltevreden Hervormde Kerk.
“The first year we had 1 100 riders and this has more than doubled to 2 500 this year.”
“We naturally expect many more now that it’s officially a seeding event, which we’re obviously very excited about.”
He says he is doubly pleased for the only other event to gain this elite status –the Cansa Powerade Lost City Cycle Classic.
“We also have a close relationship with that race, which does great things for the Cancer Association, so I’m thrilled for them too.”
The 2012 event was won by MTN-Qhubeka’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, who went on to a winning international season that included the Cycle Tour in March.
Anriette Schoeman took the elite women’s title for bizhub-FCF.
Janse van Rensburg, who previously won Berge en Dale in his first outing as an elite rider, says his 2012 victory brought back happy memories of those first steps to stardom.
However, for the rest of the weekend warriors who are not yet ready to take on the world’s largest road race or the international stage, the event offers an easier 55km option.
Enter online at www.cyclelab.com before January 28. For more information contact the race office on 076 621 1807 or email email@example.com.
Full Stop Communications
082 575 7991
041 368 4992
On behalf of:
Cyclingnews and ASG Events