Organisers of the one-day Bestmed Jock Classic and three-day Bestmed Jock Tour road races have split the events to accommodate riders who wish to take part in both.
ASG Events’ operations manager Darren Herbst confirmed that the Jock Classic would take place on July 15 while the tour was pencilled in for September 15 to 17.
Both events, which are presented by Rudy Project, will once again be centred around the Lowveld town of Mbombela in Mpumalanga.
The Jock Classic, South Africa’s second oldest race after the Cape Town Cycle Tour and an official seeding event for the latter, will be contested over three tough stages totalling 150km with 2 900m of vertical ascent.
The first stage will take the peloton from Nelspruit to White River over a distance of 42km, with the second covering 45km to Sabie via Spitskop. The final stage will be contested over 63km to Nelspruit via Long Tom Pass.
“We haven’t changed the route, as it has become an institution,” said Herbst, “but there have been improvements with roads being resurfaced and additional support measures being added.”
He said the Jock Classic was “not your normal one-day race”.
“It’s a lot further and it offers cyclists looking for something different a unique experience.”
Although the response to this year’s race had been overwhelming, Herbst said entries would be taken until midnight today.
The Bestmed Jock Tour would be limited to a field of 500, which included team and solo entries, he said.
It was not a challenge for the average rider, he warned, as it was the first race in the country to mirror its stages on those found in the European Grand Tours.
“There is no tougher three-day challenge on a road bike anywhere else on the African continent,” he said of the 313km event that took in a daunting 7 200m of vertical ascent.
It opens with an innocuous-sounding 27km time-trial between Nelspruit and Kaapsehoop, but the course rises an intimidating 1 200m. The second stage is essentially the same route as the entire Jock Classic.
The final day will take the survivors on a circular route from Nelspruit to Kaapmuiden via the Boulders ascent, then on to Barberton and finally back to Nelspruit via Hilltop – a distance of 136km with 3 100m of climbing.
Herbst said Italian-based Ftech, clothing partner of both races, had designed a special edition jersey for those taking part in both.
Go to www.thejock.co.za for more information or to enter.