The Western Cape has landed another world cycling showpiece event – the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano race.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) series attracts the crème de la crème of international cross country mountain biking and tens of thousands of spectators to its races around the world.
The South African leg will open the 2018 season and take place on Friday March 10, on the slopes of the Coetzenburg mountain in Stellenbosch.
The event will be staged by Grandstand Management, the Cape Town-based company that manages the Absa Cape Epic, the world’s foremost mountain bike stage race.
“This is great news for our sport and the region,” said Absa Cape Epic and Grandstand Management chief executive officer, Lynn Naudé.
“These races are televised live to many countries around the world and attract significant media attention.”
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, also welcomed the news.
“My aim is to ensure that the Western Cape becomes Africa’s premier cycling destination. Securing the 2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup opener is a major victory in this quest.
“By showcasing the beauty and sophistication of our trails, this event will stimulate international interest in our province as a bucket-list cycling destination,” he said.
“My hope is that cycle tourism becomes a major revenue and job creator for our region. We’re thrilled to be working with such excellent partners in executing this event,” said Mr Winde.
Stellenbosch mayor, Gesie van Deventer, said: “Stellenbosch is well- known as a mountain biking destination in South Africa and this is our opportunity to become an international destination for the sport.
“This is a significant boost to Stellenbosch and will have a knock-on effect, which will benefit our entire community,” she added.