A decision to book out the luxury Le Franschhoek Hotel for the weekend should make for a memorable experience when the Liberty Winelands Encounter takes place in the Western Cape next weekend.
Winelands route designer Johan Kriegler said they had also tinkered with the route to ensure it was manageable for all riders.
“By using this four-star accommodation for two nights, it removes a lot of hassle for the competitors and will add value to the occasion,” he said.
Kriegler said they had altered the course to make the first stage a bit more manageable.
“We found that the ascent and the switchback climbs from Stellenbosch up Botmaskop were too technical for the average Liberty Winelands rider,” said Kriegler.
“It didn’t make sense in terms of the target market of the race to set up luxurious accommodation for the competitors and then create a stage which leaves them so exhausted they cannot appreciate what is on offer.”
Having removed that climb from the equation, he added that it allowed them to incorporate more of the Boschendal single-track in the 49km stage.
Kriegler said the 12km Matoppie climb alongside the Berg River dam on the second stage would provide a nice challenge.
“It will test the riders, but this stage is also about the conditions they will face.
“The area is characterised by loose rock and sandy patches so although the stage, at 47km and 1 150m of vertical ascent, doesn’t look too hectic, the surface will make it a little tricky.”
Kriegler said there would be a sting in the tail on the final 50km stage when the riders climbed up to Hawekwa Plantation.
“But from there it all flows down to the Nederburg Wine Estate near Paarl, so after the hard work earlier on there is some reward at the end.”