35000 cyclists saddle up

Meshack Khotha

Meshack Khotha

More than 35000 cyclists will take part in the top-rated Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour billed for Cape Town on Sunday, March 9.

The cyclists will tackle 109km of the Cape Peninsula's most scenic roads - a major percentage of which run through a nature reserve and world heritage sites. Since it started in 1978 the race has attracted high-profile athletes, recreational cyclists and top international teams.

Race organiser David Bellairs said yesterday that registration for this year's race had closed in September last year because of the popularity of the race.

"Our target has been 35000 cyclists since 1999 because of safety and security reasons.''

The yearly event has grown in leaps and bounds - from a modest field of of 525 cyclists when it started in 1978. The South African race is rated among the top eight fun rides in the world.

l Cellphone company MTN has come on board to finance the MTN Giro del Capo, a five-day race in Western Cape that ends the day before the Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour, for a period of three years.

"It is a great opportunity to renew our relationship with the Tour Club,'' said Jacques Hattingh, MTN senior manager: customer satisfaction.