ONLINE entries are virtually streaming in for the first national cycling classic of the year as prospective entrants rush to make the deadline for The Herald VW Cycle Tour.
The mountain bike and road races will take place in Addo and Port Elizabeth on February 2-3.
The Herald chief marketing officer Justin Peel said the response had been excellent, with twice the number of entries received via the event's website compared to the same period last year.
"Sporting events have been making the shift to online entries as it ensures the entry process is streamlined and that accurate information is captured.
"The process assists both entrant and organiser in making the exchange of information and money simpler and safer."
Peel said organisers were excited about the reaction to the new Ultimate Quest, which will see riders take on both the 80km Extreme mountain bike challenge on the Saturday and the 106km Classic road race on the Sunday.
"Entries for the Ultimate Quest have well exceeded our expectations and we look forward to hosting so many strong cyclists this year."
He said participants would only be able to register for this super-category online.
Although entry forms for individual events were still available at cycle shops in Nelson Mandela Bay, Peel urged cyclists to enter online as manual entries carried a R20 surcharge.
"Online entry fees can be paid via credit card or EFT [electronic funds transfer] with entrants receiving an e-mail confirmation of their entry and payment."
He said entries received after the cut-off date of January 21 would be subject to an additional 50% late fee.
"This will apply to the 80km Extreme and 60km Adventure as well as the 106km Classic and 55km Pursuit."
The public should follow the event's social media platforms for updates, training tips and other advice.
Peel said long-standing partner Bukani Print would once again be responsible for entry forms and promotional material as well as the official race booklet.
Bukani director Alan Taylor said the race booklet remained a handy source of essential information, including road closures, starting times and rules and regulations. "The electronic world has taken over but people still like to have something tangible that they can refer to quickly. Many riders also keep it as a memento of the race."
Registration will take place from 9am to 9pm on February 1 on the exhibition level of the Boardwalk Convention Centre.
- ORGANISERS have announced a minor change to the 106km Classic route. Climbing out of Seaview, riders will now continue on the main road to Colleen Glen instead of using the alternative, secondary road. See tomorrow's edition for the full story.