The 2019 edition of the Tour of Good Hope may only have ended just over a month ago, but race organisers ASG Events are already putting plans in place for next year’s event from March 2-6.
South Africa’s premier road-race classic in the Cape Winelands, won by national U23 champion Marc Pritzen, proved another huge success last month, finishing with its traditional climb up to the Taal Monument just outside Paarl.
Entries for next year’s event are now open and the same categories will be offered as this year, with team and solo options for the amateur riders.
An interesting development, said ASG chief executive Erick Oosthuizen, was that former Springbok rugby players John Smit, Breyton Paulse and Stefan Terblanche had all committed to riding in next year’s tour.
“This is something that is developing as we go along but it will be great to have them on the tour,” he said.
“We are still planning on how their inclusion will work because they may be part of a team and challenge other teams or they may challenge each other.
“But they are all keen cyclists and eager to experience what one of the country’s high-profile tours has to offer.”
Earlier this year, Smith, the 2007 World Cup-winning captain, made his debut appearance in the Liberty TransCape MTB Encounter, which also falls under the ASG Events banner.
This year the Tour of Good Hope enjoyed UCI status for the first time and Oosthuizen said they were confident of receiving positive feedback from the international body.
He added, however, that there were a variety of factors to consider before the final planning was done.
“The UCI status definitely adds to the credibility of the event, but there are budget factors to look at,” he said. “To be honest, it will be sponsor-dependent.
“We are very keen on it for 2020, but we are crunching the numbers to make sure we can do it.”
Oosthuizen felt the variety of stages this year made it “a nice edition”.
“We admit that the first day was probably a bit short, but we will get that right for next year,” he said.
“The one venue [at Boland Landbouskool] makes it easier for most people to get to, but it also limits us a bit in terms of routes. We will take this into consideration when designing the new route for 2020.”
Oosthuizen acknowledged that they faced a few challenges in setting up this year’s event.
“I think it’s important to note the problems as well, and the major issues were the roadworks.
“This caused some late changes to the routes, but we are already trying to mitigate that by planning way ahead for the 2020 tour.”
While introducing a team competition this year, he added that the solo categories remained an integral part of the overall offering.
“We do believe that there is room for a team category, but we realised that there is huge interest in the solo side of the race in the amateur competition, so we again hope to host all the categories for 2020.”