Friendly city prepares to welcome 2015 XCO Cup Series opener

 
Local rider Andele Mtalana descends the XCO trail in the Baakens Valley, the venue of the opening round of the Stihl 2015 SA MTB Cup Series, taking place in Port Elizabeth on 28 February. Photo credit: Andre Hugo

Local rider Andele Mtalana descends the XCO trail in the Baakens Valley, the venue of the opening round of the Stihl 2015 SA MTB Cup Series, taking place in Port Elizabeth on 28 February. Photo credit: Andre Hugo

 

The opening round of the Stihl 2015 SA Mountain Bike Cross-country (XCO) Cup Series will take place in the heart of Port Elizabeth in partnership with East Cape MTB, at the William Moffet Retail Park on Saturday 28 February.

With a UCI category 1 rating for Elite Men and Women, South Africa’s top XCO stars are expected to compete in a bid to accumulate UCI points towards their Rio Olympics 2016 qualification.

Starting and finishing at the William Moffet Retail Park, the 4.7km route with 170m total ascent winds through the Baakens Valley Nature Reserve. Natural obstacles and some short, sharp climbs in the valley will offer a challenge come race day. The loose gravel on some of the climbs increases the challenge on the technical course.

Online pre-entries are open, and close on Tuesday 24 February. Click here to enter. Late entries will be accepted at registration, with a nominal charge of R50 in addition to the entry fee.

The finer touches are still to be made on the top-class course, and already the “race snakes” are out to set the fastest lap in the East Cape MTB Strava competition http://www.xconationalpe.co.za/#Strava. If you plan on riding the course, send your pictures and clips to East Cape MTB and have it featured on the event website. It’s easy – post it on Instagram and use the hashtag #xconationalpe. The official event website is http://xconationalpe.co.za.

Click here to view the route profile.

Juniors will be able to earn UCI points in the XCO rounds 2, 3 and 4 as part of UCI Junior World Series. With the Junior categories taken out of the UCI MTB World Cups, Juniors will again participate in their own world series to garner valuable UCI points.

The Danish Cycling Federation National MTB Coach, Mads Bødker, has confirmed that his national team, which includes Junior World Champion Simon Andreassen, will be competing in the Johannesburg leg on 28 March. The team will also be competing in the HC category XCO event, which is part of the 2015 Pietermaritzburg MTB Festival, on 4 April.