Technical crew gear up to make road less rocky

ORGANISERS of The Herald VW Cycle Tour have upped the ante by taking technical assistance to the next level at both the mountain bike and road events on February 1 and 2.

Official technical support partners Cyclo Pro-GT will host a neutral support zone near the start/finish venues at the Addo Polo Club on the Saturday and at Port Elizabeth’s Hobie Beach on the Sunday.

According to GT regional manager Stephen Craddock their technicians will be on hand to assist with any last-minute issues or problems a rider could encounter.

“Neutral support means anyone with any bike can come to us and we’ll assist them with any complaints or problems they may have.”

Craddock said his crew would be available at Addo from the Friday evening. “So we’ll be there for any mountain bikers who are staying over and need some help. The next morning we’ll be open from very early to make any necessary adjustments to people’s bikes.”

He said the same would apply to Sunday’s road races.

“We’ll put up some supporters’ gazebos next to the tech zone so riders can come and chill in the shade, enjoy a free beverage and chat to us about the GT brand and what it’s all about.”

Craddock said the most common pre-race problems they encountered related to the gears and setting them correctly.

However, he said there were a few essentials riders needed to bring with them to minimise any problems out on the route.

“The rough and thorny terrain out at Addo requires some kind of sealant in the tyres. I would tell people to bring CO2 bombs and possibly even a small pocket pump in case they run out.”

Craddock said multi and chain tools were also essential items for en route repairs. “On the road side there are obviously fewer obstacles and your chances of puncturing are far less, but I’d still pack these tools along with a spare tube.” He also advised riders to have their bicycles properly serviced at least three to four weeks prior to the event.

“Start now and buy yourself some time. The local cycle shops get very busy towards the tour.”

Cyclo Pro’s Andrew Briggs said his store would have a large stand at the registration and expo at The Boardwalk Convention Centre, offering bike parts and accessories as well as technical advice.

“We’ll be there on Friday and Saturday so participants can pick up last-minute items.”

Briggs said Cyclo Pro’s roaming mechanics would be out on the route to assist riders in Saturday’s Powerade Leisure Challenge at Addo and Sunday’s 55km Pursuit and 106km Classic in PE.

He said Cycling South Africa rules prevented them from offering assistance to participants in the 80km Extreme and 60km Adventure mountain bike races.

During the weekend, three lucky participants will each ride away with brand-new GT bicycles with a combined value of R40000.

The 29-inch GT Zaskar 9R Elite mountain bike will be given away at the mountain bike prizegiving on the Saturday, while the GT Karakoram 29er and GTR Series 2 road bike will be up for grabs at the main prizegiving after Sunday’s feature races.

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