In conjunction with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation and Msunduzi Municipality, the inaugural KZN Summer Series kicks off in the province on Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 November. The event comprises two one-day UCI 1.2 women-only races – a first for the country and continent.
To date, 17 women’s teams (six local pro teams, three African teams, four international UCI Women’s Teams as well as provincial teams) have committed to taking part in the series with each team allowed a minimum of four riders and maximum of six on the start line.
The teams confirmed to date are:
Time Freight eTeam
African Cycling Centre 1
African Cycling Centre 2
African Cycling Centre 3
Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team
Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank
W Cape Provincial
North Gauteng Provincial
The first race of the Series, is the Queen Nandi Challenge, taking place on Wednesday 16 November. The UCI Category 1.2 race is a 100km loop starting at Midmar Dam before sweeping through the Edendale Valley and climbing back through Hilton and returning to Midmar. The race is named after Queen Nandi, mother of Shaka Zulu and who is recognised as the mother of the Zulu nation.
The second race, the Queen Sibiya Classic, which takes place on Thursday 17 November, is a 118km race again starting at Midmar Dam and will see the peloton climbing to Mooi River before racing back to the finish point at Midmar passing through Howick. Although a road race, close to 4.5km of it is on a hard gravel road – an African twist on the iconic Strade Bianche race in Italy. The race is named after the iconic Queen Sibiya who stood up to an abusive husband - one of the first historical steps leading to the empowerment of women in the country today.
There have been women’s cycling races in the country before, but these have always been linked to men’s races so these two races that are solely for elite women races is a huge step forward for the development of women in the sport here in the country and in Africa.
These two races fall into the Cycling South Africa calendar just three days before the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge (UCI 1.1) in Gauteng on Sunday 20 September – the perfect opportunity for international teams already in the country to explore more of South Africa, and collect extra valuable UCI points.