With a new name, a new entry procedure, and a new venue for its 2016 EXPO, the Cape Town Cycle Tour has undergone quite a few changes in the past 18 months, and whether you like change or not, there is no denying that the world’s largest timed cycle race is now more international and more exciting than ever before!
Previously the Cape Argus and the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour, the Cape Town Cycle Tour was renamed in September 2014 to give it a more ‘global appeal’. While I have yet to find a South African who refers to it as anything other than the “Argus”, the new name has certainly raised the events profile overseas, and it looks to be more popular than ever in 2016.
The next major change was the Cape Town Cycle Tour’s new ballot style entry procedure, which was announced just a few weeks ago. After the chaos of 2014, when South African entries sold out in just 8 hours, the event organisers had no choice but to come up with a new entry system this year, but the new ‘lottery’ style process is not proving very popular with international entrants.
Previously, international entrants had guaranteed entry until the end of January, which meant that they could book their trip to Cape Town 11 months in advance to secure good flight prices and accommodations. But this is no longer the case.
Fortunately, there are charity entries available for those who have already booked their trip, so if you are unsuccessful in the ballot, all is not lost, but this will definitely impact ‘early bookings’ next year – hotels… be warned!
Finally, the Cape Town Cycle Tour EXPO will have a new venue next spring, when it will replace the rather dated Good Hope Centre for Cape Town’s newest landmark, the iconic Cape Town Stadium! A real treat for both local and international entries, next years’ Expo looks set to be the best yet, and it is one of the only occasions when you’ll be able to step inside this magnificent structure without buying a ticket!
Only time will tell if these changes are for the good of this iconic sporting event, but we’ll be cycling the Cape Town Cycle Tour 2016 regardless – who’s coming with us!