Top riders to tackle 2015 Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB Challenge

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(Cape Town, 28 February 2015) South Africa’s best mountain bikers and a giraffe will zigzag their way through Stellenbosch dust this weekend as the Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB Challenge kicks off the annual Lifecycle Week.

The MTB Challenge returns to Le Bonheur Wine Estate in the Greater Simonsberg Conservancy in Stellenbosch with a 38km and a 55km route on Sunday, 01 March 2015.

In the 55km men’s race RECM’s Erik Kleinhans and Nico Bell will do battle with Waylon Woolcock, from Team Cannondale Blend powered by RED-E, Johann Rabie from EAI Cycling and Adriaan Louw from Team Contego. Joining them will be a braai king and a giraffe – let’s hope the braai king doesn’t catch the giraffe.

The braai king – Jan Braai – has become a competitive mountain biker while radio presenter Liezel “Giraffe” van der Westhuizen has shown she’s no mug on a mountain bike.

“Sunday’s race will attract some great competition,” says Woolcok. “Last year my teammate won the race so we are hoping to keep it in the RED-E Blend camp. The route, even though not long, is going to be very challenging with its steep ascents. As for the single tracks, the faster you tackle them, the more technical they become. It’s going to be awesome.”

Nico Bell said the race will be a nice rev up for the legs and lungs leading up to the Absa Cape Epic, which starts in two weeks. “It will be nice to get some time in with teammate Erik Kleinhans and test our skills on the single tracks as well as fitness on short punchy climbs. We will be looking at racing for the overall as a team and finishing on the podium this weekend.”

Rabie also hopes for a podium finish and believes Sunday’s race will be highly competitive as riders will be in fine form. “It will definitely be fast! It’s a nice route and I’m looking forward to the event.”

In the ladies’ race for podium spots this year, RECM’s Cherise Stander and 2014 MTB Challenge winner, Ariane Kleinhans will tackle the 55km route to claim top honours.

Route co-ordinator, Meurant Botha of Dirtopia has crafted the routes specifically for the event.

“After moving the race to Le Bonheur Wine Estate last year, the feedback from riders has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said.

“Developing trails in this area is part of our legacy project, so we didn’t want to simply rehash 2014’s routes.  Instead, we’ve introduced new scenic and shady areas for riders.  We’ve also incorporated a lot more single track – the most in the history of this event – and hope that this contributes to our aim of continuously improving the overall experience for our participants.”

Riders who complete the 55km Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB Challenge and the 109km Cape Town Cycle Tour will receive a special medal.