The Takealot Jock Classic, one of South Africa’s oldest road races, will offer a number of options when cyclists take the opportunity to stretch their muscles in mid-winter in Mpumalanga.

Covering a distance of 155km, this event offers a unique package in which the overall distance is divided into three stages, all taking place on the same day – July 13.

This deviates from the normal practice in cycling, where one-day races traditionally cover a distance around the 100km mark.

But race organisers ASG Events are making sure that nobody gets left out this year by catering for various choices within the feature event, which takes place in Nelspruit, White River and Sabie.

“We have decided this year to offer three options to those who want to compete in one of the country’s classics,” said ASG chief executive Erick Oosthuizen.

“So this year you can do all three stages, for which we will naturally have the overall champions, or you can do the last two stages, or just the last stage. We feel this will cater for most riders.”

However, there is a built-in incentive if you ride in two or three stages, because these come with meals, he added.

The stages will cover 48km, 45km and 62km respectively and there will be starting times for each leg.

Oosthuizen also said they would again have a junior men’s category, which was introduced for the first time last year.

“We are keeping that because we would very much like to support cycling development and this fits in with our views and objectives.”

Coming at a time of the year when the event calendar is not that full he felt it was an ideal opportunity to get in some decent winter training.

“Fortunately, the weather is so good in the Lowveld that it is not a problem, while the race offers a unique challenge in incorporating three stages in one day.

“Of course, the format of the event does throw up a few challenges, but it’s a great day out on the bike and you can learn a lot about your own body.

“You need to manage the demands of warming up and cooling down three times during the day.

“Equally it’s important to eat and drink well while keeping the mind focused on what amounts to three races in one day.”

Oosthuizen said it remained a popular option with cyclists.

“It will always be a favourite amongst the purists out there. But, having said that, it’s something new riders will enjoy too as it is possibly different from the normal events they enter.”

Caption: Cyclists will test themselves in the unique one-day, three-stage event when the Takealot Jock Classic road cycle race takes place in Nelspruit, White River and Sabie in Mpumalanga on July 13. Photo: Memories 4 U Photography