Best of 2014 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek { 85 images } Created 21 Oct 2014


The Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race will herald a new era when the eighth edition gets underway in the coastal town of Mossel Bay in South Africa’s Western Cape province on Sunday.

A new route configuration and fresh, never-previously-ridden trails combine with iconic geographic and historic regions in three different biospheres to deliver what is considered the most varied, and finest route yet in the International Cycling Union (UCI) graded race.

Riders from 15 nations and four continents will contest the 541km race over seven days with the top men and women competitors not only chasing generous prize money and global media exposure, but also significant UCI points, which will help nations and individuals in their quest to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games next year.

The main race focus is on the two-rider teams, but there’s also a solo division for men and women.

The seven-day race will start with a short, but intense 13km prologue time trial dubbed #PointPursuit, which takes the riders through the town of Mossel Bay and along the coastline, passing local points of interest that include Point High School, St Blaise Lighthouse and Santos Beach.

Although short, the prologue will allow the leading competitors to gauge their form and that of their rivals as there’s a fairly telling 320 metres of vertical ascent to be climbed. It will also give Mossel Bay residents a chance to experience a world-class mountain bike race up close.

Monday’s Stage 1 takes the riders take on the #DiazDash leg from Mossel Bay, along the beach and into the indigenous forests of the Outeniqua Mountains to the finish in George. From there the riders will head to Oudtshoorn on the #MontaguMettle stage via the historic Montagu Pass and Chandelier Game Reserve.

Days 3 sees the riders tackle a new approach through the rugged Kammanasie Reserve, and a never before ridden section through the unspoiled Kapteinkloof and Madi-Madi Game Reserve. The #KammanasieKanon stage from Oudtshoorn to De Rust will offer some of the most relentless terrain in mountain biking as the riders get to grips with the merciless character of the Klein Karoo, a semi-arid biosphere.

Days 4 and 5 will see riders tackle the iconic monster climb over the Swartberg Pass, first from De Rust to the summit on the #SwartbergShowdown stage and then from Prince Albert to Calitzdorp on the #SwartbergSequel leg. These two days will ask riders to climb a total of 4450 vertical metres in 174km, a significant ascent-to-distance ratio that’s likely to differentiate the pretenders and contenders.

At 68km, the #RedstoneReward stage from Calitzdorp to Oudtshoorn is relatively short, but is unlikely to draw any complaints from weary riders as they bookend a week of high quality mountain bike racing.
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