Cape Town - The race organisers have added
a fresh dimension to the Tour of Good Hope this year by opting to hold
the time-trial midway through the five-day race next month instead of at the
In recent years the time-trial
has taken place on the second day, a Tuesday. However, ASG Events chief
executive Erick Oosthuizen confirmed this week that it would now be held on the
South Africa's premier road cycle race takes place in the
Drakenstein Municipality in the Cape Winelands from Monday March 4 to Friday
March 8, covering 490km of clover-leaf racing.
Starting and finishing each
day at the Boland Landbou school just outside Paarl, the race organisers have
introduced a number of changes which they believe will present a strong
challenge for the riders.
The only exception to the
finish venue is on the 71km last stage when the riders will make the climb to
end at the Taal Monument just outside Paarl.
After two stages of 63.5km and
97.8km, Oosthuizen said the time-trial on Wednesday -
it was originally scheduled for the opening day on Monday - would see the cyclists riding a distance of 26.5km.
felt that by holding the time-trial on the Wednesday it would help to keep
things interesting," he said.
a strong rider or team rides a couple of minutes into the rest in the
time-trial (on the first day), the race is virtually over.
have a story to tell over five days of racing and this will be one chapter
midway through that story."
Looking at the rest of the
route, Oosthuizen said the riders would experience a slightly flatter profile
this year, but he was confident it would still provide a proper examination of
the competitors' credentials.
remains five days of intense rivalry, especially now that the event has UCI 2.2
status, and we still believe the challenge will be there."
He outlined a number of
changes they had been forced to make this year.
N1 tunnel on Du Toitskloof Pass is undergoing a period of maintenance, with
work being done to tunnel number two.
have consulted with the traffic authorities, as well as Sanral, and
subsequently ruled out the mountain stage over Du Toitskloof.
have also moved our host venue to the Boland Landbou school. That makes it
fairly difficult to include Franschhoek Pass, which has been part of the race
for several years.
clover-leaf system has been positively received as the logistics for riders of
getting to the start and finish venues have been greatly reduced.
the value of starting and finishing in the same location every day, the venue
is also secure and spacious for parking.
"It's close to all the backroads we want to use, which
improves the safety aspect."
Oosthuizen said the queen
stage on the fourth day would offer a major test for the riders.
covers a total of 149km and takes them over Bainskloof Pass and Bothmaskloof
Pass," he added.
"We are happy with the route we have put together
and don't think a climber will necessarily win because
you will have to have all-round ability to do well."