The series organisers have finalised all four qualifying events, with one in each major MTB region of the country, with the recent addition of the Cape Argus Pick n Pay MTB Challenge as the qualifier in the Western Cape, to supplement qualifiers in Gauteng (The Cradle Mountain Trophy), KwaZulu-Natal (Sappi Karkloof Classic) and Mpumalanga (Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge).

“We are thrilled to have secured four prominent events that will serve as the qualifiers for riders keen to contest the Rainbow Challenge jerseys on the day before the elites ride at the UCI MTB Marathon World Champs,” said series coordinator, Alec Lenferna.

“Based on the thriving UWCT Final for road cyclists, and the Masters competitions before the 2013 MTB Cross Country and Downhill World Champs, we are expecting an enthusiastic response from the local riders over 30 years of age.”

Lenferna confirmed that the rules for the series had been ratified and uploaded to the Rainbow Series website, with an effort to make qualification as simple as possible. “To qualify, all you need to do is enter and complete the long ride at any one of the qualifying events,” said Lenferna.

He added that any rider who had competed in last year's Masters World Championships, together with any international rider, would be exempt for the qualification process and would automatically be allowed to enter the Rainbow Challenge Final.

Should riders not wish to or be unable to compete in any of the series qualifier events, but still wish to compete in the 2014 UCI MTB Marathon World Championships, they may still do so but they will be exempt from competing in the Rainbow Challenge competitions at the World Championships and will start after all Rainbow Challenge competition groups have started.

Racing will be decided in the traditional five year age groups, starting with the 30-34 year category, provided there at least 6 riders in each class, with the men up to 59 years of age riding 70km and older men 50km, while women up to 49 years of age will ride the 70km layout and older women the 50km distance.

Lenferna added that seeding in each age category start group would be afforded to current age group world champions and national champions, after which riders will be called up in the order in which they entered.

“Our domestic MTB scene is heavily skewed towards marathon racing, with some of the finest one-day and stage races in the world that attract riders from across the globe,” said Mike Bradley, GM of Cycling South Africa. “There is a real sense of anticipation amongst our veteran and masters age group riders eager to ride the same course as the elites will be riding for the world titles on Sunday 29 June, and to test themselves against the best riders in their respective age categories.

“It is a privilege be able to host another UCI MTB World Championships in South Africa, and this creates another opportunity for us to allow our best riders across all age groups to test themselves against the best in the world,” he added.

Rainbow Series Calendar of Events
- Qualifiers

Cape Argus Pick n Pay MTB Challenge: 2 March 2014

Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge: 22 March 2014

The Cradle Mountain Trophy: 12-13 April 2014

Sappi Karkloof Classic: 9-11 May 2014

Rainbow Challenge - Final

28 June 2014, Cascades MTB Park, Pietermaritzburg