OCBC Cycle 2021 to bring the thrill of road racing after two-year hiatus due to Covid-19
The local road cycling fraternity will get the opportunity to race again after an almost two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
OCBC Cycle 2021 was launched in person by OCBC Bank’s Head of Group Brand and Communications Ms Koh Ching Ching, Chief Executive Officer of Sport Singapore Mr Lim Teck Yin and President of the Singapore Cycling Federation Dr Hing Siong Chen at Shimano Cycling World, Singapore Sports Hub.
The OCBC Cycle Speedway Championships will be the first competitive road cycling event in Singapore since November 2019. First introduced in 2015, the races will be held on Saturday, 29 May 2021 at the Singapore Sports Hub. 28 teams are expected to compete across three categories – with the OCBC Cycle Speedway Women Championship finally debuting this year. The other two categories are the OCBC Cycle Speedway Club Championship and the OCBC Cycle Speedway Corporate Championship.
The Covid-19 pandemic had turned many sporting events in 2020 into virtual ones. OCBC Cycle was no exception. With strict safe distancing measures remaining in place this year, mass participation rides will continue to be virtual. Two new categories – The 100km Virtual Ride and The 200km Virtual Ride – have been introduced, following feedback from participants that they would like the challenge of riding longer distances. The registration fees are S$22 for the 100km distance and S$25 for the 200km distance.
For those who prefer shorter distances, they can sign up for The Straits Times Virtual Ride (23km) or The Sportive Virtual Ride (42km). Children can sign up for the Mighty Savers® Kids Virtual Ride (5km). Registration is free for these three categories.
Participants must cycle the required distance in four rides or less from 15 May to 13 June 2021.
Bringing Competitive Cycling Back Safely
The Speedway Championships will see teams of four split into pairs with each pair covering five laps on a flat 1km stretch along Stadium Drive in a relay format.
The all-female category was first included in the 2020 event to encourage female participation in competitive cycling but was cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Dr Hing Siong Chen, President of Singapore Cycling Federation, was said, “Many cyclists have been training hard to prepare for the return of on-site races for more than a year now. I’m certain that they will be very pleased with the return of OCBC Cycle Speedway Championships and use it as an opportunity to put their skills to the test after putting in long hours of training. It’s heartening to see that OCBC has worked hard to organise the event with safe management measures in place – all in a bid to support the local cycling community during this challenging period.”
Ms Charlene Tang, triathlon coach and first-time OCBC Cycle Speedway Championships participant, said, “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. When the pandemic hit, our plans were put on the back burner. So, you can imagine our excitement when we heard about the all-female category which is perfect for us. We are looking forward to competing with other ladies and learning from each other.”
Safe management measures will be implemented in line with prevailing government regulations to provide participants with a Covid-safe environment to race in. Examples of such measures include designated holding areas to prevent the intermingling of participants from different categories, and restricting venue access to participants only. Non-participants such as team assistants, spectators and family members will not be admitted.
Longer “Virtual” Rides
The convenience and flexibility of completing the event over multiple rides, indoors or outdoors on their preferred routes, proved to be a hit with the participants last year.
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, to the organisers. A fitness tracker or workout app can be used to record the ride details.
Ms Koh Ching Ching, Head of Group Brand and Communications at OCBC Bank, the title sponsor of OCBC Cycle, said, “With Singapore’s phased approach to resuming activities, we have been working closely with the authorities to bring back an on-site event where cyclists could come together to ride. We are very excited to be able to stage the first road race after almost 2 years. While there may not be in-person spectators, just being able to race is enough for the cycling community to look forward to the event in May.”
“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. 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.”
Online registration for OCBC Cycle 2021 has commenced and will end on 14 May 2021.