German mountain-biker Udo Mueller is relishing the chance to defend his solo men’s title when the Liberty TransCape MTB Encounter gets under way in George on Sunday.
The seven-stage mountain-bike race, powered by Volvo, will end on February 9 at Holden Manz Wine Estate in Franschhoek in the Western Cape after a 591km journey through some of the most popular trails in South Africa.
Mueller said he was excited to be doing the event for the second time as he had enjoyed the 2018 race so much.
“The TransCape was so well organised last year that it was a pleasure to ride it,” he said.
He added he would be part of a group of six riders from Germany attending the event as they looked to escape the harsh winter of Europe.
Mueller won the solo category ahead of Switzerland’s Roland Mueller last year, with Stefan Hackl, also of Germany, in third place. Hackl will be back this year.
Although the riders will experience a slightly shorter overall journey this year, route director Wayne Collett has warned that it did not mean it would be easy.
“We have tried to keep every stage to under 100km,” he said. “There are some just over that distance but if you are well prepared it is something everyone should be able to handle.”
ASG Events chief executive Erick Oosthuizen said everything was on track to again provide a memorable experience for the competitors.
“There have been some fires in the Western Cape, which means the riders may experience some ‘black earth’,” he said. “That is unfortunate but there is not much we can do about it.
“But in terms of the race we are ready for the week and to live up to the race’s reputation of being hard on the bike and absolutely amazing off it.”