Algoa Sun Reporter
MOTORISTS using Marine Drive on Sunday will have to be extra vigilant when hundreds of bicycles take over the road in the sixth edition of the Mecer- NMMU cycle race which will start and end at the Xerox-NMMU Stadium.
The riders will exit the stadium at 7am through the back entrance of the NMMU South Campus and turn right onto Marine Drive.
Passing the Willows Holiday Resort, they will continue through Schoenmakerskop village before making a right turn onto Victoria Drive and then left into the Sardinia Bay Road.
The route heads right onto Heron Road, then left onto Seaview Road and through the village of Seaview before turning left towards Beachview and the first big climb at Maitlands.
A right at the T-junction into De Stades Road takes participants to Cow’s Corner in Colleen Glen through the second challenging climb at Three Sisters.
Turning right once more, riders find themselves looping back downhill on the Seaview Road towards Seaview village, from which point they will retrace their route back to the finish at the university.
The 45km event follows the same route as the feature race, but riders turn back at the Old Cash Store on the Sardinia Bay Road.
Cycling in his debut for the Mecer-NMMU team, former South African u-23 road champion Clinton Barrow could be the rider to watch.
The 20-year-old Framesby resident, who rode professionally for the now-defunct DCM team last year, said he was keen to make a winning start for his new team where he will ride alongside two-time former champion Conrad Viljoen.
“Hopefully one of us will win. We can both climb and we are similar riders, so if we keep together, we can definitely help each other to the finish.”
Barrow’s last victory was in March when he won the Daily Dispatch Felt Tour. Before that, he achieved top 10 finishes in the Tour of Durban and ITEC Dome 2 Dome last year.
“I was off the bike for a while due to all the issues with my previous team, but I have been training quite a bit over the past six weeks. I’m feeling better and better every day.”
He said the season-ending race was an excellent way to gauge his form as he looked ahead to re-establishing himself at the top end of the sport next season.
Barrow cited Walmer Cycling Club’s defending champion Roger Pheiffer, the latter’s teammate Brent Pheiffer as well as George’s Quintin Myburgh as his major challengers.
He said the serious racing would probably start on the steep climbs at Maitlands and Three Sisters, about halfway through the race.
“That’s where you can get away on your own and take it to the finish.”
The PE-born rider, who started his pro career as a junior with Team Garmin, said he felt a little extra pressure to perform because his new club and its sponsors were hosting the event.
Barrow said he was generally confident about his chances, but would see how he was feeling on the day.
“You never know until you are out on the road.”
In the women’s category, the race is wide open due to the absence of defending champion Lindi Dorfling (Team bizhub) and local favourite Anriëtte Schoeman (Nashua-Toyota).
Both will be competing in the country’s second largest cycle race, the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge in Johannesburg.
Also included in the day’s events are a 45km road race and various short criterium races for children aged two to 10 years.
The stadium clubhouse will be open for registration and late entries on Saturday between 1pm and 3pm.
Entry forms are available from cycle shops in PE or riders can enter online at www.leisurecycletours.com