One of SA’s most iconic events is ready to get riders back into the Knysna forest and surrounding roads this July.
“While our virtual events proved to be a great success in 2020, there is nothing like the real thing,” says Knysna Cycle Tour race director, Ivan van Lier. Ivan and his team came into the fold in 2020, when the Knysna Speed Festival took over the running of the event.
| By: Jazz Kuschke |
“It obviously wasn’t the best year to take over, but it gave us a great dry run,” he says. According to Ivan, this year’s 33rd edition will once again feature a festival of cycling without the ‘festival’ part, with everything in place to offer riders a premium event experience in line with all current COVID protocols.
“Riders have always looked forward to Knysna. The unique double header event straddles two disciplines – mountain bike and road race – and by running both formats a day apart, the roadies are attracted to compete in the MTB event and very often the MTB riders do the road race as well,” Ivan says, explaining that the organisational team’s philosophy for this year’s event is ‘excellence at all points of contact.’ For him and his team, that relates to the strictest adherence to relevant COVID protocols as well as great route marking, top marshalling and well-stocked water tables. “Our health and safety officer is highly qualified and very experienced and will draw up our plan to be in line with the requirements at the time – the registration process will be slick, toilets will be sanitised much more frequently than in the past and water table logistics and food handling will be of the highest standard,” he says. “Water tables will be well placed and well stocked with real, whole foods. And, more-then-enough to fuel the back markers as well. It’s a non-negotiable,” he says. According to Ivan, with everything in place entries have been flowing in steadily.
“There is a massive hunger for racing this year and we’re already at 80% capacity with a mix of rollovers from last year and new entries,” he says. “Of course the public is jittery, but from our perspective, we are going to go ahead with some sort of event, regardless. Even if it’s under stage 3 lockdown during that time and we’re allowed outdoor events of under 100 people, our local municipal authorities have agreed to batch starts of 100 riders each.” According to Ivan, the batches and the way the start will work will be very much how Double Century was done in 2020 and will also be administered by RaceTec.
“We understand the uncertainty of the ‘what ifs and what the riders’ expectations are, so from our perspective we’re very much communicating that the show must go on.” “And,” says Ivan, “for us clear communication is key. There will be various channels of communication with riders, including WhatsApp groups with real-time updates.”
So, here’s what we know of how the show will run:
The event is still in aid of Rotary in Knysna and funds raised will be distributed among their various charity projects, as in the past. Three MTB routes 80km (this is for fit, experienced riders only), 50km, 30km and 15km fun ride. Two eBike routes (30km and 50 km). Two road races 106km and 50km, as well as various kiddies events. The road races will bring the weekend to a close on Sunday with races of 50km and 106km. eBikes will be allowed in the 50km event. Children’s Tour consists of three events for kids aged 2-10: each event for a different age category. All who complete the rides are winners and will be taking home medals and cool goodie bags.
No spectators. There won’t be a big start/finish village with vendors and the like, but there are plenty of restaurants in close proximity to both the road and MTB start/finish areas which will all be operating under strict COVID protocols. After the success of the 2020 virtual event there will be a number of Strava and Zwift segments and competitions. Stay tuned to the event’s social channels for more info closer to July. Entries for the 2021 Knysna Cycle Tour, taking place on 3 and 4 July, are open at www.knysnacycle.co.za
| IMAGES: Knysna Cycle |