2013 Mzansi Tour powered by Cathsseta { 82 images } Created 29 May 2013

April 2013 bid a warm South African welcome to the inaugural Mzansi Tour powered by Cathsseta. Mzansi is the Zulu word meaning 'the South' and is often used as a colloquialism to refer to South Africa. It's appropriate then as the name for the Mzansi Tour, the only UCI-graded road cycling stage race in Southern Africa.

The five-day, six-stage event carried a 2.2 International Cycling Union (UCI) grading and took place from 17 to 21 April, 2013 hosting 15 South African and international teams. The event was organised by Echelon Events (Pty) Ltd and powered by CATHSSETA (Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority). The South African landscape provides a spectacular backdrop for a tour of this nature, with open roads, breathtaking views, mountainous terrain and a warm climate, with spectators and fans who can greet you in 11 official languages.

South African cycling tours of the past, including the Boland Tour and the Rapport Tour, created great excitement around local cycling heroes and it is within this context that cycling was etched into the minds of South Africans. The two largest timed mass-participation road cycling events in the world, namely the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour and the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge also take place in South Africa.

The rise in the ‘sports tourism’ phenomenon has prompted the SETA to structure its skills development initiatives around this. This resulted in the partnership between CATHSSETA and Echelon Events to launch the Mzansi Tour 2013,” said Mike Tsotetsi, CATHSSETA CEO.

While Echelon Events is a new company, it offers many years of cycle event experience, comprising a collaboration of expertise from Lange Sports, the company that owns the Team Bonitas professional men’s road cycling team; and Tanya Harford and Jenni Green of Harford Sports Promotions, the company that organises the annual Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge, the world’s second largest cycle race, among other major events.

South African road cycling legend, Malcolm Lange, is one of the directors of Echelon Events. He brings two decades of racing experience to the mix, understanding the event from a competitor’s perspective. “In order to effectively develop road racing in South Africa, there needs to be a pinnacle stage race within our country. The Mzansi Tour is just that,” said Lange. “Most riders in my generation had the Rapport Tour and the Giro de Capo as domestic international tours, but with the demise of those, there’s been no consistent international high-profile stage race for our talented young racers to aim for. The Mzansi Tour will fulfill that important role.”

“Mzansi Tour is all about showcasing South Africa to the world. While we have a core unit that’s organising the event, we are open to anyone’s suggestions to help make this annual premier sporting event a success” added Harford.
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