The multi-stage endurance race, the Cape Rouleur, kicks off this week, marking the start of a series of premier cycling events taking place in the Western Cape this month.
Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, joins 160 riders as they line up at the starting line for the Cape Rouleur on Sunday. Around 80% of the participants come from overseas countries.
Beginning in Franschhoek, riders will travel across some of the Western Cape’s most scenic mountain passes. Western Cape youngster, Nicholas Dlamini, who was recently chosen as first ever ambassador for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, is also set to race in the event. The event includes 600km of racing and 6 000m of uphill cycling.
The Western Cape Government co-sponsored Nicholas’s participating in the London-Paris cycle race last year. Riders will also have the opportunity to gain seeded entry into the world’s largest timed cycling race, the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour. The Argus takes place on the 9th of March and typically attracts over 30 000 participants.
March ends off with the 11th edition of the Absa Cape Epic, in which local and international mountain bike riders tackle the challenging 718km route, including 14 850m of climbing.
The province’s official destination marketing, investment and trade promotion agency, Wesgro, supports the Cycle Tour and Absa Cape Epic with R300 000 for each event. Minister Winde said cycling was becoming an increasingly popular activity in the Western Cape, with the number of formal cycling routes and races growing each year.
The Department of Economic Development and Tourism has set itself the target of attracting 100 000 cycling tourists to the Western Cape per year, within the next ten years.
“To reach this goal, we are developing an informed cycle tourism strategy which seeks to promote the Western Cape as a cycle-friendly destination for casual and competitive cyclists.”
“As part of this strategy, we aim to ensure that we have well-designed infrastructure in place for cyclists at public spaces and key strategic locations such as the airport, on transport systems and at accommodation establishments. We must also ensure that safety for cyclists using our roadways is improved through better cooperation with motorists,” said Minister Winde.
SOURCE: South African Official News