The Liberty Winelands Encounter next month will again offer a quality mountain-biking experience, combining a good mix of trails with luxury accommodation.
Billed as the country’s most beautiful race, the three-stage event will see cyclists tackle a 147km journey between the Western Cape towns of Franschhoek and Paarl from April 12 to 14.
Route director Johan Kriegler said they had created a combination of single-track, gravel roads, jeep tracks and climbs which would be “doable for most riders”.
He added that the luxury aspect formed a key element of the overall offering, with accommodation available at the Le Franschhoek Hotel on the Friday and Saturday nights.
“However, those who are interested in this should waste no time in booking their spot as the hotel accommodation is limited to 80 two-man teams,” said Kriegler.
“This race incorporates some of the most beautiful mountain-bike trails in the country with top-quality accommodation to make it a weekend to remember.
“We have kept that in mind while setting up the route and we believe that what we have complements the ethos of the race.”
He warned riders that there would be a few technical sections to test their skills.
“Much of the route is similar to last year, but there has been a change to the starting venue, which will now be at the Boschendal Wine Estate.
“This means the first eight kilometres will cover new territory, but then it will be back to the Boschendal tracks, climbing to the highest point and going down the single-track on the other side.”
He added that the second and third stages would remain largely unchanged.
The second stage will take riders on a circular route, which starts and finishes at the Le Franschhoek Hotel, while the third day will see the race draw to a conclusion at the Nederburg Wine Estate in Paarl.
“The route is manageable but there are a few challenging sections, such as the climb to Matoppies before waterpoint one on the second day, which is quite hectic,” he added.
“And then there is a technical stretch around the Berg River dam which will test them and could be influential in the final positions.”
The final event, the Waterberg Encounter, takes place near Bela-Bela in Limpopo from June 7 to 9.