A new dimension has been added to the Takealot Tour of Good Hope after it received UCI status for 2019 in a move which should attract significant overseas interest.
It is the first time the five-day race, which takes place in the Cape Winelands from March 4 to 8, will have UCI points up for grabs and Cycling SA general manager Mike Bradley believed it would benefit riders across the board.
“Having these sorts of races is important, particularly at this time because from now until October it is Olympic qualification year,” he said of the 2.2 classification the Tour of Good Hope had received.
“That means the higher our riders rank internationally, the more we will have to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“Having UCI status helps from a strategic point of view, allowing our riders to earn points in events close to home.”
Bradley said another benefit of having UCI status was the potential to attract strong foreign outfits.
“International teams don’t look at anything that’s not UCI-rated,” he said.
“It’s important to attract international competition to local races as it provides stronger competition for our cyclists and prepares them better for what to expect overseas.”
Besides overseas competition, Bradley said several African nations had shown an interest in riding the tour “and there are some very good riders in those teams”.
A 2.2 category, he said, accommodated club teams, regional teams, local professional outfits and Continental and Pro Continental teams.
A unique element of the Tour of Good Hope is that it allows amateurs to compete in the same event as professionals, albeit in separate starting groups.