For the first time, two mountain bike routes have been added to the Berge en Dale cycling race on February 4 and 5 as organisers ASG Events seek to broaden the appeal of the event.
Routes covering distances of 40km and 15km have been set up for the Sunday, following the feature 102km road classic on the Saturday.
ASG Events route director Darren Herbst said the event had been extended to a second day to accommodate the mountain biking component after numerous requests in recent years.
“We’re fortunate to be in an area where there are beautiful mountain bike trails and we have joined hands with Hero Adventure Hobby Park in Krugersdorp to make this happen.
“With areas such as the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens to work with, there are amazing trails with many features, so it was a no-brainer.”
He described the longer route as “intermediate with some undulations and a bit of a kick to it”, with the short option aimed at families and social riders.
Meanwhile, many of the country’s leading cyclists will be heading to the 102km national classic on the West Rand on February 4 in what could be a dress rehearsal for the national road championships.
The 15th edition of the road race, which also sports a 55km component, will see around 5 000 riders assemble at the Cradlestone Mall in Muldersdrift on February 4.
Herbst said the event, which is presented by Optimum Financial Services, was strategically positioned the week before the national champs.
“Being placed one week ahead of the nationals gives it extra importance in terms of helping riders to peak at the right time. It also gives us an idea of who is going well,” he said.
Last year’s Berge en Dale saw a podium lock-out by RoadCover when Gustav Basson won ahead of Clint Hendricks and Bradley Potgieter. Hendricks went on to place third in the elite men’s road race at the nationals.
With Berge en Dale a premier seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, Herbst said it had always attracted a big field and they were again looking forward to hosting the participants.
The top riders will be heading to the nationals in Wellington (February 7 to 12) straight afterwards and then to the Cycling South Africa-sanctioned Bestmed Tour of Good Hope (March 6 to 10) in the Cape Winelands, where they will come up against an international field.
Entries close on January 26. For more info, visit www.asgevents.co.za.