With only two riveting top-end road cycling races to go in the inaugural KZN Autumn Series – the Maritzburg to Margate Mayday Classic on Friday 1 May and the Hibiscus Coast Cycle Challenge on Sunday 3 May – the series has already set an exceptional level and allowed local cyclists to experience standards set by the International Cycling Union (UCI). This is a fantastic opportunity for SA road cyclists to gain first hand experience of just how tough this type of racing is.
Competing in the KZN Autumn Series is Women’s Elite rider, Zanele Tshoko from Velokhaya Life Cycle Academy. Tshoko has joined the CSA Women’s Development team and secured a ninth place position at the Freedom Day Classic on Monday.
“Monday’s racing was great,” said Tshoko. “I managed to be a part of the first breakaway but I couldn’t keep up, the pace was too high for me so I had to fall back. When it came to the sprint, I tried really hard and finished ninth, so I’m happy.”
Tshoko’s gutsy move in the first breakaway impressed her team captain and race winner, Cherise Stander, who was also delighted at the opportunity to compete in the team along with fellow teammates and esteemed cyclists Catherine Colyn and Candice Neethling.
When chatting about the upcoming Hibiscus Coast Classic (Sunday), Tshoko said: “I am very excited for the weekend, I am not too sure if I will be riding on Saturday, but definitely on Sunday.”
When asked if she found the longer distances of these UCI Category races more challenging, Tshoko said: “I’m pretty used to riding these distances so I’m not finding it a problem at all. When I’m training I’m riding around 100km so it’s no problem.”
The importance of the series, Tshoko feels, is great for the country and in particular, women cyclists. “To have races like this here in SA is such a good thing - especially for the women to race. As individuals you don’t really have a chance to race in events like these so it’s good to be part of a team.
“Being in the team is great. Everything is great. I’m learning a lot as well,” she concluded.
The recently launched KZN Autumn Series provides cycling fans and enthusiasts the chance to watch South Africa and Africa’s top cycling teams battle it out for UCI points in three road race events on 27 April (Freedom Day Classic) for Elite Men and Women, 1 May (Mayday Classic) for Elite Men only and Hibiscus Coast Challenge (3 May) for Elite Men and Women.
The Saturday event, Hibiscus Coast Classic, is aimed at the young age categories from under-10 through to the Veteran age categories of 60+ years, and provides the Elite riders a chance to ride on the exact same route that will be used for the Sunday UCI 1.2 event.
For more information about the KZN Autumn Series, click here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/kzn-autumn-series
To view the edited video package of the Freedom Day Classic, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q19aaFvOUJk