THE mountain bike season clicks into high gear tomorrow with the Stihl SA Cross Country (XCO) Cup Series season opener in the Baakens Valley behind William Moffett Retail Park.
The course is taking shape with some pro riders from the Kargo MTB Team having ridden it while in PE for the Herald VW Cycle Tour.
Alan Hatherly, who had to settle for a fourth place at The Herald Cycle Tour MTB leg in Addo behind cyclists such as Cape Epic competitors Gert Heyns and Matthys Beukes, had a big smile on his face while riding the PE XCO course.
“I found the track stood out from all the other national tracks I have ridden purely from the technical aspect,” Hatherly said.
World ranked No 9 XCO rider and Swedish teammate Emil Lindgren has confirmed his participation in the first round of the cup series.
Lindgren will set his sights on the valuable UCI points up for grabs at this event.
These points count towards athletes wanting to qualify for the Olympics in 2016 so the competition is expected to be fierce.
The course covers 4.7km and the number of laps athletes need to complete is determined by their age category.
Lap times will vary from 14 to 30 minutes, depending on the strength and skill of riders.
Rocky descents and climbs that are difficult to walk will be raced at full pace.
Entrance will be free and there are numerous spectator points which will allow you to get close to the action.
There will be practice runs for all competitors today. Racing times tomorrow are 10am for women and 2pm for men.
-The Herald Reporter