Tour of South Africa organisers today announced that Cell C will be the Title Sponsor of the inaugural Tour of South Africa, the international professional cycle race which will take place in February this year. This much anticipated event which will be known as The Cell C Tour of South Africa 2011 is a UCI sanctioned 2.2 category, 8 day, 7 stage road race will start in Pretoria and finish in Paarl, with cyclists riding over 1200km in total.
The announcement represents a further boost for one of the fastest growing sports in the country and complements the synergy between the two brands. The deal will see Cell C as the naming rights holder of the biggest pro cycling road event in South Africa and one which will form part of the global cycling calendar.
“Having a major brand like Cell C as our Title Sponsor is what the Tour of South Africa deserves. A major brand for a major cycling event! We are delighted that they have come on board and look forward to staging a successful international event” said Barry Mocke, CEO Cycling South Africa.
Cell C have never sponsored a sporting event on a national scale as the focus has always been community based. As part of its recent re-launch, the team was looking for something new, innovative and on a national level – but something which still benefits the community.
“The timing was perfect. We were looking for something on a national level that aligns to our new strategy and that will appeal to our wide customer base. It is all about speed and offering a world-class experience. The potential that exists between the brands is remarkable – we could not decline the opportunity,” says Simon Camerer, Cell C’s Executive Head of Marketing.
Cell C recently launched South Africa’s most advanced network in 13 cities across the country. “We remain fully committed to providing affordable, fast and world-class internet access to all South Africans, whether they live in a city or a rural environment. We are working around the clock to bring “whoosh” to 97% of South Africa’s population by the end of the year,” adds Camerer.
Cell C is ranked the number one internet service provider in South Africa by Ookla, the global leader in broadband speed testing.
The association of Cell C with international bodies such as the UCI, through its sanctioning of The Cell C Tour of South Africa and the international teams that will be participating, also adds to the stature of the brand and takes it to a new level.
“2010 was a big year for the country and with no world cup events happening in South Africa this year, this is the closest we, as a country, will get to ignite our national pride once again.
“We have a large number of customers who enjoy, and participate, in cycling and the growth of the sport is phenomenal. It’s important for us to support what our customers do, and one way to do that is through sport sponsorship.” Camerer concluded.
The route for The Cell C Tour of South Africa has been revised recently and will now pass through the following areas:
Saturday 19 February: 167km – Menlyn to Monte Casino – The first race day will start in Menlyn, passing the Union Buildings before heading north and turning west behind the Magaliesberg ridges west of Pretoria. The race travels west through the tunnel at Hartebeespoort Dam to the Cradle of Humankind passing Maropeng before heading to the Fourways area for the finish.
Sunday 20 February: 156km – Monte Casino to Monte Casino – a circuit route incorporating Soweto, Soccer City, Sandton and the Johannesburg CBD.
Tuesday 22 February: 173km – Port Elizabeth to Port Elizabeth – Starting at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, stage 3 heads towards the Addo Elephant National Park where one is sure to catch a few glimpses of wildlife (it is home to the Big Seven). From there the race returns to Port Elizabeth, where the route takes an interesting turn, with a city circuit, before finishing in Summer Strand on the beach front.
Wednesday 23 February: 153km – Bloukrans Bridge to George – Stage 4 starts on the famous Bloukrans Bridge where many bungi jump enthusiasts are sure to be found. We head from there to Natures Valley and out on the climb towards the N2. Then on to Plettenberg Bay where we include a local loop before another climb out and back on the N2 passing through Knysna. At Wilderness the race leaves the N2 and heads over 3 passes of narrow twisty roads before finishing in George.
Thursday 24 February: 210km – Oudtshoorn to Swellendam – The stage starts in Oudtshoorn and heads on to the famous Route 62 passing Calitzdorp, Ladismith, Barrydale and Suurbraak before finishing in Swellendam.
Friday 25 February: 180km – Hermanus to Stellenbosch – The penultimate stage starts in Hermanus and winds its way through Gordons Bay over Sir Lowry’s Pass into Grabouw, to Threewaterskloof Dam and up Franschhoek pass. A speedy descent follows. After passing through Franschhoek the race will head over Helshoogte Pass onto the finish in Stellenbosch.
Saturday 26 February: 100km – Paarl to Paarl – Cycling through South Africa’s 3rd oldest town, cyclists will enjoy scenic views and historic buildings. A 10km circuit stage which will pass through the main streets of Paarl and Klein-Drakenstein finishing in Market Street.