The sixth edition of the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race is set to be the best ever in the history of the event, which has accorded UCI status by world cycling’s governing body.
The event’s elevated status means it will attract more big-name professionals when it takes place from 12 to 18 October. As a UCI-graded race, standards relating to the racing end of the field, including the amount of prize money amount and depth, as well the awarding of UCI rankings points to top finishers, is assured.
Covering 550 kilometres in seven days and taking in three different eco-regions of South Africa’s Western Cape province – the Great Karoo, the Klein Karoo and the Garden Route – the event includes the richest single stage in all of mountain bike racing.
Although the route for the 2014 edition of the race is set to be announced by the end of next month only, it will still include the event’s trademark mountaintop finish of stage two, the Queen Stage, which will see the riders ascend the formidable, majestic Swartberg Pass.
Equal prize money
This will be the first year that the first women’s team to the summit finish will receive the same prize money as the men.
Bridge, the event’s title sponsor, has committed a total of R250 000 (about $25 000) to the stage, with the first men’s and women’s teams each receiving R125 000 (about $12 500).
“I’m absolutely delighted about the news of the equal prize money on the big mountain-top finish stage,” said Swiss marathon champion, Ariane Kleinhans, who, with RECM teammate Anika Langvad, won the event’s Queen Stage and the women’s race overall in 2013, said in a statement.
“It is a demonstration of the organisers’ respect towards us ladies’ performances and their motivation to increase female participation in our great sport. Equal prize money will attract more top riders to the race and push us to a higher level. Us ladies will definitely do our best to make it an exciting race,” she added.
‘Even more rider-focused
Carel Herholdt of Dryland Event Management, the company that founded and manages the event, commented: “Each year we fine-tune the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek to be even more rider-focused,” said Carel Herholdt of Dryland Event Management, the company that founded and manages the event.
“At the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek, our focus is on quality, not quantity. Our stages aren’t long just for the sake it. They’re designed to offer as much reward as they offer challenges. They’re real mountain-biking routes that include some of the Karoo and Klein Karoo’s greatest natural spectacles.”