The Takealot Satellite Classic road race will show off a fresh look when it takes place at an important stage in the South African road cycling season in mid-October.
There are a number of changes to this event near Hartbeespoort Dam on October 12 which will have the effect of attracting a wide range of riders.
From a new race venue in Magaliesburg to a slight change in the distances, plus a variation of the route, it should make for an interesting challenge as cyclists continue their seasonal programme.
One element which hasn’t changed is that the 106km feature race remains a premier seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, while there are other benefits as well.
ASG Events chief executive Erick Oosthuizen said it was a perfect opportunity for cyclists to gauge their conditioning near the start of the road season.
“The road season really starts gaining momentum in September so this race in the middle of October sits nicely for those getting ready for the 947 Cycle Challenge,” he said.
“It’s a good test in itself and the new 106km route is very similar to the old one.
“The only difference is that riders will ascend the infamous Hekpoort climb just 8km into the race. This might be easier for the bulk of the riders and a potential gap for a long breakaway by the pros.”
Previously the gruelling 4km climb came near the end of the race and was described as “a sting in the tail” by many cyclists.
Besides the feature race, ASG Events are also offering a 31km distance, which Oosthuizen believes will attract the less experienced cyclists.
“We felt the longer distances we had last year (107km and 84km) did not offer that much of a difference,” he said.
“That is why we have gone for the two options this year, which we think will create a broader appeal for the race.
“The 31km distance does not include a lot of climbing and is an ideal opportunity for cyclists relatively new to the sport to experience racing conditions.”
Another key element was the new venue at Bekker High School in Magaliesburg which would provide a different feel, said Oosthuizen.
“Our new hosts will bring a fresh flavour to the event with their warm hospitality.
“The finish will be technical with a short punchy climb up to the school, including a left turn approximately 100m before the line.”
Caption: A number of changes, including a new race venue, have been introduced to the Takealot Satellite Classic road cycle race when it takes place in Magaliesburg, Gauteng, on October 12. Photo: Wayne Hanscombe/Jetline Action Photography