A route which suits cyclists of all levels should ensure that the Bestmed Satellite Championship, which takes place next month, remains a prominent race on the South African road classics calendar.
The event, which takes place near the Hartbeestpoort Dam in North West on October 14, provides offerings of 106km, 80km and 60km. Entries close on October 2.
ASG Events chief executive Wynand de Villiers said the race “was all about the route”.
“It has become such a popular route, with a wonderful and forgiving road surface all the way,” said De Villiers, who is fresh from staging the three-day Jock Tour on some of the country’s most unforgiving roads in Mpumalanga over the weekend.
“The first 70km are always nice and quick as they present mostly flat roads with a few undulations.”
However, he added that it was not plain sailing all the way to the finish because of the Hekpoort climb that presented a proper challenge in the latter stages.
“Of course, the nature of the race changes somewhat when you hit the base of Hekpoort, which is a signature ascent in South African road cycling.
“After the 4km climb it remains undulating to the end,” said De Villiers, but he warned riders about the infamous Poeierbult that lay in waiting around 10km before the end.
“It’s a relatively short climb, but it will again test the legs.”
Besides the quiet and cycling-friendly roads, De Villiers said there were a number of other key elements attached to the Bestmed Satellite Championship.
“It’s a seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, which adds to the credibility of the entire offering,” he said.
“Furthermore, it is perfectly positioned in the lead-up to events such as the Tshwane Classic (November 5) and 974 Cycle Challenge (November 19).”
He said participants would use the Satellite race either as a final long ride to prepare for the November classics or as a barometer to gauge their fitness.
De Villiers felt another big plus for the event was the start and finish venue they had set up in recent years.
“We think it’s a winning formula because Saloon Route 66 has ample parking and has grown the event over the past four years. We’re also fortunate that we can use neighbouring farms for overflow parking.”
He said they were planning to increase their offering by including a mountain bike element next year.
“We’re already working with the University of Pretoria to establish a mountain bike race at their High Performance Centre next year to complement the road races,” he said.
He explained that they wanted the championship principle (a race weekend consisting of both road and mountain bike races) to grow as it was part of their vision to provide a total cycling product.