The competition is expected to be stiff in both the men’s and women’s fields at the Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB Challenge to be staged at the Le Bonheur Wine Estate on Saturday.
Defending champion Sam Gaze of New Zealand will once again be on the start line to defend his title.
His Specialized Factory Racing teammate and South African cross-country ace, Alan Hatherly, will also make a welcome appearance.
“I’ve never actually managed to make it down for the MTB Challenge, or the Cycle Tour for that matter,” Hatherly said. “The timing has just never worked out for me to do it previously so I’m quite stoked to do it.
“Watching Sam win last year was quite awesome, so I’m really excited to be out there and in the mix.”
Hatherly’s teammate from the stage races in the latter parts of 2018, Simon Andreassen, also of Specialized, is another rider expected to be among the favourites.
Renowned SA marathon riders PYGA Euro Steel’s Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes as well as national marathon champ Gert Heyns and his DSV teammate Arno du Toit could be the dark horses.
Although she won last year, Stenerhag crashed during the race and that left her sidelined for most of the season.
The Swedish national champ and SA’s “adopted citizen” will have her work cut out for her in Saturday’s race as she comes up against Kate Slegrova, Hayley Preen, Yolandi du Toit and Mariske Strauss.