Already famous for its fine wines, great outdoor activities and excellent restaurants, Stellenbosch has recently added another feather to its cap.
The city of Oaks has been selected as the site of the inaugural leg of this year’s UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. Presented by Shimano Race, this event attracts top MTB cyclists from around the world and is expected to draw thousands of spectators too.
Locally, the event falls under the wing of Cape Town’s Grandstand Management who already run the Absa Cape Epic – the world’s most prestigious mountain bike stage race.
Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch, Gesie van Deventer, is confident that the city will rise to the occasion by making a great impression on cyclists and spectators alike. Any overflow of tourists can easily be accommodated in Cape Town city accommodation close by.
With excellent, varied tracks, gorgeous scenery and a solid tourism infrastructure there’s nothing stopping Stellenbosch from becoming even more of an international favourite for mountain biking holidays.
The UCI MTB World Cup consists of 8 rounds taking place across the world. The competitor with the most points at the end of the year is crowned the UCI World Champion, and has the honour of sporting the rainbow stripes of the World Champion on the sleeve of their cycle shirt.
The first leg features both men’s and women’s events in the elite as well as under 23 categories and will take place on the Coetzenberg Mountain cross-country course.
Already a popular destination for national events, the track is being upgraded for the occasion. Once completed, competitors are in for a tough (and rough) ride over a demanding course.
Spectators are assured of great views of all the thrills and spills from viewpoints scattered along the route as competitors race to negotiate technical descents, natural obstacles, forest track and rocky paths. Courses range from four to 10 kilometres in length and should take 1 or 2 hours to complete.
The race takes place on the day before the Cape Town Cycle Tour, and 8 days prior to the Absa Cape Epic. The organizers are hoping that cycling enthusiasts will make a bike-fest of it and stick around for all 3 events.
It’s going to be a whirlwind of whizzing tyres, lycra outfits and biking camaraderie. If you want in on the action it’s a great idea to book your Cape Town city accommodation and order your qhubeka bells right away.