SINGAPORE — Cycling enthusiasts in Singapore will get the opportunity to race on the roads again, as OCBC Cycle 2021 will feature road races for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic safety measures were put in place last year.
The annual mass cycling event will feature both virtual and physical races, with the OCBC Cycle Speedway Championships road cycling races to be held on 29 May at the Singapore Sports Hub.
Teams are expected to compete across three categories, with the OCBC Cycle Speedway Women Championship finally making its debut after being postponed from 2020.
Triathlon coach Charlene Tang, 27, had originally formed a team of like-minded female cyclists to take part in the event last year, but was forced to shelve those plans due to the pandemic.
"My team-mates and I have been going on frequent all-girls rides for the past few years and always mulled over the idea of competing in a team cycling event," she said during the launch of OCBC Cycle 2021 at the Sports Hub's Shimano Cycling World on Thursday (25 March).
"When the pandemic hit, our plans were put on the back burner. So, you can imagine our excitement when we heard about the return of the women's category. We are looking forward to competing with other ladies and learning from one another."
The other two road-racing categories are the OCBC Cycle Speedway Club Championship and the OCBC Cycle Speedway Corporate Championship. All three events - registration fee is $300 per team - will see teams of four split into pairs with each duo covering five laps on a flat 1km stretch along Stadium Drive in a relay format.
The top three winners of each category will receive $800, $600 and $400 in prize money respectively. Teams interested to take part are required to write in to email@example.com by 14 May.
And with Singapore having eased its crowd restriction on sporting events, allowing up to 750 spectators if organisers include pre-event testing, OCBC Cycle is looking at letting fans attend the road races, said OCBC Bank's head of group brand and communications Koh Ching Ching.
Two new, longer virtual race categories
With safe-distancing measures remaining in place this year, mass participation rides at OCBC Cycle 2021 will continue to be virtual.
Besides the three traditional categories - the 5km Mighty Savers Kids' Virtual Ride, the 23km The Straits Times Virtual Ride and the 42km The Sportive Virtual Rides - this year's edition will see two new categories: the 100km and 200km Virtual Rides.
Participants must cycle the required distance in four rides or fewer, from 15 May to 13 June. To prove the completion of the virtual ride, participants have to submit their ride details and a photo of themselves with their bicycle, taken at any point of the ride. A fitness tracker or workout app can be used to record the ride details.
“Cycling enjoyed a boom during the COVID-19 outbreak with many looking to take up the sport seriously. The longer distances of 100 km and 200 km will appeal to segments of cyclists who aspire to cycle further and test their limits," said Koh.
"While virtual rides were introduced out of necessity because of Covid-19, we believe they are here to stay and will nicely complement on-site rides after the pandemic is over.”
Registration is free for the 5km, 23km and 42km categories, while it costs $22 to register for the 100km ride and S$25 for the 200km ride. Online registration has commenced and will end on 14 May.
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