Cape Town - The
Bestmed Tour of Good Hope will have a direct link to one of the world’s most iconic figures when the stage race
is hosted by the Drakenstein Correctional Centre situated between Paarl and
Franschhoek next year.
facility, previously known as the Victor Verster Prison, made international
headlines on February 11, 1990, when Nelson Mandela took his first steps to
freedom through its gates after 27 years of incarceration.
will act as the Tour of Good Hope’s
race village from March 5-9, with an international field of cyclists
starting and finishing under the famous Madiba statue at the entrance to the
communications manager Manfred Jacobs, who has worked there for over two
decades, said the staging of the Tour of Good Hope, presented by the City of
Drakenstein, would tie in with the 100 years’ celebration for Mandela.
“Next year, Madiba would have turned
100 so it is a special occasion,”
are definitely looking forward to hosting the race and it’s a huge boost for us to have the top
local and overseas riders here.
“We want to build on the legacy of
Madiba, which is about getting people together. If we can do it through sport,
even better because of his belief in the power of sport.”
said they all had many special memories of Mandela, who spent his last 14
months at Victor Verster, but one lesson from him always stood out.
“The one thing that I always tell
people is that he taught us that big doors hang on small hinges. That means you
need not be the most significant person around, but if you can still add value
you are important.
“And that’s what we try to do here, to add
value, not only to the inmates but also to the public we are serving.”
said they had been involved with the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope previously and
they had the facilities and space to act as the race venue.
indication of their organisational capabilities, he added, was the 27 For
Freedom road running race they held annually in February to celebrate Mandela’s release.
“We have around 10 000 athletes in this run so we are
geared to host big events,”
“We are really looking forward to the
tour because it is one of the prime races in the Cape Winelands area and any
part we can play in that would be fantastic.”
operational manager Darren Herbst said they were delighted with the new option
and felt it would work really well for the five-day event.
“We have put in a lot of effort to
establish this race on the calendar and the City of Drakenstein have assisted
us greatly after coming on board last year,” he said.
“The Victor Verster played such an
important part in Madiba’s
life and the new venue will encompass a number of things, such as cyclists
riding past the house where he lived, so it should make for a memorable
added that the crossing of the public road outside the facility was one of the
major factors they had solved from the previous year when the race was hosted
by La Paris Estate while starting in front of the prison.
“With the start and finish inside the
centre, that issue has been removed,” said Herbst.
“There are ample parking and wonderful
facilities that will ensure a hassle-free experience for the participants. It
is the perfect setting to reproduce the five-star race village for which the
tour has become known.”
Tour of Good Hope will cover a total distance of 490km in the Cape Winelands.
www.tourofgoodhope.co.za for more