Category Archives: News

Tour de Free State makes Olympic dreams come true

Cycling South Africa and their parent body, SASCOC (South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) have made an announcement today that the women road cycling team will take three cyclists to the Olympic Games this year. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, Jo-anna van de Winkel and Robyn de Groot will represent South Africa in the women’s road cycling event.
Tour de Free State has provided the last opportunity for the South Africans to better their position on the UCI ranking list from number 17 to number 13, which is the last position to allow a third cyclist in a country’s team at the Olympics.

Surprisingly the selectors decided not to select Charise Taylor, the only South African with Olympic experience, but to include van de Winkel and de Groot who have participated in the Tour de Free State.
The launch of the five-year European feeder program in 2009 has seen a greater amount of SA road racing cyclists competing on the world stage. With the sights set on the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, South Africa’s women cyclists have already showed depth in the infancy of the project, earning 3 places in the 2012 London squad.

Racing for the experienced Belgian Lotto Belisol team in Europe for the greater part of the season has seen young women such as Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Joanna van de Winkel and Robyn de Groot become household names in South Africa following their excellent steady progress over the past three years.

An in-form Moolman-Pasio has been increasing her world ranking with each event and her stage win at the final stage of the Tour de Free State last month, and third place overall in the General Classification, is what secured the third woman rider for Olympic team qualification. Moolman-Pasio was always going to be a hot favourite for team inclusion.

Joanna van de Winkel (30) and Robyn de Groot (29) will join the 26-year old as part of the women’s Olympic road cycling squad. With climbing being one of her attributes, Van de Winkel will be well suited to the road race route that reflects a profile with 14 metres of climbing for every kilometre covered. De Groot, who assisted Moolman-Pasio in her Tour de Free State stage victory, has also gained valuable UCI points towards the women’s ranking and her all-round ability and readiness to sacrifice herself for the team will be a great asset to the cycling team in London.

This will be the largest contingent of cyclists from South Africa ever to participate in the Games since South Africa’s readmission to world sports in 1992. The women cyclists have proven with their remarkable progress that women cyclists in South Africa deserves their own races and that women in sport deserves the same amount of exposure and acknowledgement as their male counterparts. Tour de Free State hosting the women cyclists as the main feature of the race deserves a compliment for their contribution to equalizing the playing field in sport.


The Tour from Ashleigh Moolman Pasio

The Tour de Free State was a magical experience! Being one of the last opportunities to win points for Olympic qualification, it was an important tour for South Africa as a nation.

In reflection, these are some of the words that spring to mind: family, support, heartache, beauty, passion, lessons, teamwork and success!

Click here to view the Tour de Free State from Ashleigh’s perspective.

Stage One Women’s race WE2.1

The first stage of the Tour de Free State WE2.1 race was a tough event which really tested the women’s stamina, strength and strategy. The cyclists had to contend with a flat surface and a strong side wind blowing from the west. At an average speed of 43km per hour, the race was hard and extremely fast with few opportunities to break away. This makes the victory of the Ukraine’s National team’s number 1 cyclist, Alona Andruk that much more impressive as she only arrived in South Africa this morning after their flight was delayed for a day.

Robyn de Groot from South Africa made the first break just outside Virginia but the squad caught her within two minutes. As a result of the strong wind the cyclists soon kept to the gutter on the left forming a long line. This resulted in several falls as the cyclists at the back put a lot of pressure on the cyclists up at the front and as leaders fell back, they started to crash into each other.

The  sprinters’ only had the opportunity to break away as they took a turn to the finishing line about five minutes before the end of the race. Adruk’s win was a big surprise in 2hours 2 min and 2 seconds. The world’s number three cyclist, Emma Johansson from Sweden of Team HiTech Products Misterl Home came second in 2 hours, 2 minutes and 3 seconds with Team Rusvelo’s Olga Zabelenskya from Russia just one second behind her.

The first South African to cross the finishing line was Ashley Pasio Moolman from Team Lotto Balisol in ninth place in 2 hours, 2 minutes and 40 seconds.


Stage 2 will have a neutral start on the corner of Church Street and  Central Street in Jagersfontein at 11: 45. The start is at 12:00 on the R 704 outside Jagersfontein.  At 14: 05 they will reach Bloemfontein and continue into Currie avenue from 14:10. They will turn into Vereniging Road from around 14: 10 take the slipway into Ferreira Street and then into Monument Road at about 14:15. They finish at the Museum of the Boer Republics where they turn into Memorial Road and end on the Show Grounds back road at approximately 14:20.

Motorists are asked to make sure they travel on the R704 before 11:00 and after 14:30 if they do not want to be stuck behind the squad. Currie Avenue, Vereniging Road, Ferreira Street and Monument Avenue will be out of bounds from 13: 50 to 14:30.


Issued by Carin van Vuuren: Pelapela Events and marketing
Media liaison
Cell 0832932890

Learners get to promote tourism in Free State

Tour de Free State is an exciting initiative to promote tourism in the different regions of the Free State by exposing tourist attractions throughout the region to cyclists, their supporters and families and the media.
Learners are invited to participate in this project by writing an essay about the tourism attractions and opportunities in their region.

They should tell us in an inspiring way about the tourism attractions, encouraging readers to visit these. They should also propose other tourism possibilities that would attract young people to spend time in their region to explore, discover and enjoy. The unique features, characteristics and colourful or historic characters of their region can be included in the blog. The best blogs will be published in a newspaper, thus they will contribute to publicizing tourism in their region and will get acknowledgement for their excellent writing skills.

This could be an excellent creative writing exercise and will also encourage learners to do a bit of research about their region, the tourism industry and create awareness and appreciation for their own region’s tourism attractions.

Participants can go the Tour de Free State website at and enter their contribution on the blog section by clicking here.

If they do not have access to the website on computers, they can enter through their phones or fax it to 0862358700. The essay should not be more than 500 words and participants should add their names, surnames, the name of their school and the region where they come from.


Fewer opportunities for Olympic qualification points

The UCI’s women’s calendar has lost the Tour Languedoc Roussillon, a French 2.2 stage race which was to be one of the final events in which riders could accumulate points toward the nations rankings used to allocate places for the women’s road race in the 2012 Olympic Games.

The race, scheduled for May 18-23, was the final European stage race before the UCI’s May 31 deadline for the qualification of London Olympic Game places. The top five nations in the rankings receive four places in the women’s road race, while the next five get three. Currently, Great Britain, the USA and Sweden are in a tight race for the fourth and fifth places behind The Netherlands, Germany and Italy.

Sweden’s Emma Johansson and her Hitec Products-Mistral Home team will now take part in the Tour de Free State in South Africa on May 23-27, she confirmed to Cyclingnews.

Article from






SA women photo shoot on Savannah

Here are some of the photos from our photo shoot on Savannah Game and River Resort in Parys with our beautiful South African woman’s cycling team.

Below are Lise Olivier, An-Li Pretorius, Cherise Taylor, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, Jo Van de Winkel, Robyn de Groot and Sarah Storey.

They will all be racing in our Second Annual Tour de Free State from 23 – 27 May 2012.
























































Tour De Free State: Press Release at Launch – 20 April 2012

The MEC for the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mrs Mamiki Qabathe, has announced the Second Annual Tour de Free State at the official launch of the Tour de Free State in Bloemfontein on 20 April 2012.

The Department is very proud that the success of this event last year, has secured the inclusion of this event on the annual cycling calendar by Cycling South Africa and that is categorized as a UCI 2.1 WE race by the International Union of Cyclists. This makes it the only Olympic qualifying road cycling race for women in Africa.

Tour de Free State is an ambitious initiative, aiming to unlock and demonstrate the Free State tourism potential through cycling to national and international audiences.

The Free State Tourism Authority is also very proud to contribute to the potential success of the South African Women’s cyclist team. South African cyclists are struggling to obtain enough points to qualify for the Olympics as most of the qualifying races are in Europe. Visas allow them to only stay for three months at a time, before they have to come back to South Africa, waiting three more months before they can return.

The Tour de Free State gives them the opportunity to qualify a full team of four cyclists, the maximum that is allowed at the Olympics, giving them a better chance to compete successfully at this year’s games.
The women’s teams participating represent thirteen countries. They are Belgium, Eritrea, UK, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Ukraine, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Holland, USA and SA.

The following teams have confirmed their participation:
1.Lotto Bellisol( Belgium)
2.Eritrea National
3.Escentual 4Viored ( UK)
4.Bike-Aid Team (Germany)
5.Ukraine National Team
6.Mauritian club team
7.Doelmans-Boels( Holland)

And from South Africa:
8. Bizhub FCF
9. Mecer University team
10. South African National Marathon MTB team
11. Team MTN Qhubeka
12. Toyota CSA Academy

Representing the South African team are:
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio
Cherise Taylor
Lise Olivier
An-Li Pretorius
Joanna Van de Winkel
Robyn de Groot

The Tour de Free State programme is as follows and will be visiting the following towns.

Day 1: 23 May
UCI race – Willem Pretorius Nature Reserve (Winburg), Virginia, Theunissen ends Brandfort
Community race – Brandfort
Day 2: 24 May
UCI race – Jagersfontein ends Bloemfontein
Day 3: 25 May
Community race -Ficksburg
Elite open – Clarens
Day 4: 26 May
Community race – Clarens
UCI & Elite open – Clarens, Bethlehem, Fouriesburg ends Clarens
Day 5: 27 May
UCI & Elite open – Clarens , Phuthaditjhaba ends Clarens

The Elite Open races will be open for participation to men’s professional teams and to amateur road racing teams.

Community races of 10km will provide communities to raise money for local charities and schools by cyclists obtaining sponsors for the amount of kilometers they complete. Interested parties and schools will get the forms from

Participants for the community races can get their entries from the same address or on the website or they can buy it at the starting points of the race.

For the UCI and Open Elite races, participants can register through Cycling South Africa on their website, .

With international television crews and the coverage by local media, this event will ensure wide publicity for tourism in the Free State and showcase the best that is on offer. The event will also generate an economic injection into the regional areas of the province and local participation in an international event.

The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs and the Free State Tourism Authority are looking forward to yet another successful Tour de Free State and the fruits this event will bear the province’s tourism industry.

The Route with details is included separately.

CONTACT NUMBER: 0832932890





See what happened at the Tour de Free State 2012 media launch

Tour de Free State is an ambitious initiative, aiming to unlock and demonstrate the Free State tourism potential through cycling to national and international audiences.

Watch the official launch video below.


Teams to stay and ride at the Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Permission was granted yesterday to use the Golden Gate Highlands National Park for the race.

It was formally announced on the 19th of March by the MEC responsible for Tourism in the Free State, Me M Qabathe, that the Free State Tourism authority will once again sponsor the annual  “Tour De Free State” International cycle race, to be held between 23rd and 27th May 2012 across the Free State.

This year we will be staying at the Golden Gate Hotel in the Eastern Free State during day 3 and 4 of the race.

For more info on the park, visit


2nd Annual Tour de Free State WE2.1.


The only Olympic qualifying race for women in Africa

23rd to 27th May 2012

The Free State Tourism Authority and the organizers of the Tour de Free State are delighted that this initiative to market the Free State Province as a tourist destination has been such an amazing success that the race has been granted the honour of being the only cycling race in Africa to receive the distinction as an Olympic qualifying race.

We look forward to hosting it for a second year with international teams taking part and the rest of the country’s cyclists having the opportunity to participate in what has already be proven to be one of the best cycling events in the country.
Stage 1, 23 May 2012:
Willem Pretorius Game Reserve- Virginia- Theunissen-Brandfort, 112km
Stage 2, 24 May 2012:
Jagersfontein- Bloemfontein, 100km
Transfer day, 25 May 2012
Stage 3, 26 May 2012:
Clarens-Bethlehem-Fouriesburg-Clarens, 120km
Stage 4, 27 May 2012:
Kestell- Phuthaditjhaba- Clarens, 94km

Entries open 24 March 2012