By Mark Etheridge
South Africa, Pietermaritzburg to be exact, gets yet another international event to look forward to later this year!
Wednesday saw the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) announce the inclusion of the KwaZulu-Natal city as part of the UCI para-cycling road World Cup circuit.
Dates for the event are 11-13 September and the likes of Paralympian veteran Ernst van Dyk and H2 category world champion Justine Asher will welcome the opportunity to take on the world’s best on home soil.
Pietermaritzburg is already an international cycling hub having hosted numerous global events spread across the cycling spectrum.
This year’s para-cycling Road World Cup gets underway in Maniago, Italy on 5-7 June, before moving on to Yverdon-les-Bains in Switzerland (13-16 June) and Elzach, Germany (24-26 July) before wrapping up in Pietermaritzbug.
Prior to the KwaZulu-Natal leg, the Road World Championships will be hosted by Notwil, Switerland from 29 July to 2 August.
Cape Town based Asher, pictured above, is excited at the opportunity to race on ‘home’ soil.
‘What’s interesting is that it follows the World Champs in Switzerland, normally the Champs is the final event for the season,’ she told Road to Rio 2016.
‘I think its great exposure for SA Para-cycling to have a world class event here, hopefully it will attract a lot of publicity and more local interest in para-cycling.
‘It’s an important event for all para-cyclists to attend who are contending for the World Cup jersey. With it being a local event, I’m excited as I’ll probably be able to have my children going with me to support me and share in the excitement of an international event.’