Interest in the Takealot Tour of Good Hope has received a boost after the international cycling body last week officially confirmed UCI status for the five-day event in March.
One of South Africa’s premier road races takes place in the Cape Winelands from March 4 to 8 and will see local stars competing alongside overseas professionals as they aim for international ranking points.
ASG Events chief executive Erick Oosthuizen said the Tour of Good Hope was already on the map, but the UCI 2.2 status had taken it to another level.
“Since it was announced my inbox has been flooded with teams wanting to participate,” he said.
“We have had interest from teams in France, Germany, United Arab Emirates and Mauritius, as well as quite a few African nations. It’s been quite amazing.”
Oosthuizen added that there had been a lot of talk among the local teams as well and “with the Olympics coming up I think everybody is keen to get UCI points on the board”.
The 2020 Olympic Games take place in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9 and this year acts as a qualification period until October.
Cycling SA general manager Mike Bradley said it was one of the national body’s top priorities to create more opportunities for South African riders to earn UCI points.
“It gives a lot of our riders the chance to race against international riders on our home turf,” he said.
“Earning UCI points is very important for professional teams such as Dimension Data, TEG ProCycling and ProTouch. Their goal is to get to the No 1 ranking in Africa, which opens up potential invites to other races.”