An unshakeable belief that the Tshwane Classic will become one of the country's premier road cycling races is at the forefront of Mauritz Meyer's mind as he looks ahead to the November 5 event.
Meyer, who is working alongside ASG Events on the race, has been the driving force behind a bid to elevate the occasion to one of the top three mass participation road races in South Africa alongside the Cape Town Cycle Tour and 947 Cycle Challenge.
This year the race, previously held in various guises, has reinvented itself as Tswhane's feature road event after buy-in from the metro and the local community.
Meyer, who has a legacy in politics and Springbok rugby, said a discussion with councillor Sakkie du Plooy had paved the way to get the Tshwane metro on board.
"I was telling Sakkie what we were trying to achieve and he was very enthusiastic. He promised to introduce me to the council and that played a big role in making this happen."
Once Meyer had met with the council, he said everybody got behind the project as they wanted to use the occasion to promote Tshwane as a top tourist destination.
"That is why we have created a route that starts and finishes at the Voortrekker Monument and takes in landmarks such as the Union Buildings, Paul Kruger statue, Freedom Park and Wonderboom Airport," he said.
Consolidating the metro's support of the event was their agreement to total road closure for the 98km race, which Meyer said was a huge bonus for the safety of the cyclists.
Besides the backing of the metro, he said he had received a hugely encouraging reaction from the local community.
"I sent a letter explaining our idea to all the cycling clubs in the region and the feedback I received was so positive that I could hardly sleep, I was so excited," he said.
He added that, thanks to the metro's maintenance, the roads being used on the route were in excellent condition and would make for a safe and exciting event.
"With an excellent route, the backing of the metro and support from the local community, everything is in our favour to make this a must-do race in the next few years."
Although not a cyclist himself, Meyer has become heavily involved in organised cycling events, working hand-in-hand with ASG Events on events such as the Bestmed Cycle4Cansa Championship at Sun City.
His first venture into cycling came 15 years ago when he worked at the Vanderbijlpark campus of the North-West University and wanted to raise funds to assist students in need.
"After the rector told me some students did not have enough money for food, I decided to organise a cycle race to assist them and we did a campus-to-campus event, from Potch to Vanderbijlpark," said Meyer.
He said he later met ASG Events chief executive Wynand de Villiers and he became more and more involved in cycling races.
"I retired seven years ago and moved to Pretoria, where my daughter lives."
Now his full attention is on making the Tshwane Classic the best race it can be.
"I love the people of Tshwane. They are so friendly and the cycling community is unbelievable, so I am really excited because the Tshwane Classic has the potential to become one of the country's biggest cycling events."
CAPTION: Tshwane Classic spokesman Mauritz Meyer believes the 98km road race has the potential to become one of the country's top three mass participation races. Photo: Full Stop Communications