Combining a good mountain-biking challenge with a quality off-the-bike experience will underpin the Liberty Winelands Encounter when it takes place next month.
The fifth edition of 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 set up trails which riders would be able to manage, but there were some technical sections and climbs which could test the participants.
“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 (in the Franschhoek Valley).
He added that the second and third stages would remain largely unchanged.
Kriegler said their route objectives were to make sure the riders were able to enjoy the scenic journey.
“But there are a few challenging sections, such as the climb to Matoppies before waterpoint one on the second day,” 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 luxury aspect, he added, formed a key element of the offering, with accommodation available at the Le Franschhoek Hotel on the Friday and Saturday nights.
He suggested that those interested wasted no time in booking their spot in the race as the hotel accommodation was limited to 80 two-man teams.
The Liberty Winelands Encounter is the second race in the Encounter Series, following the TransCape MTB at the beginning of February.
The final event, the Waterberg Encounter, takes place near Bela-Bela in Limpopo from June 7 to 9.