According to Tim Fair, route director for Advendurance, the routes for both these races will be very similar to the route that will be used during the Absa Cape Epic (17-24 March).

The Epic’s course designer in that area, Pieter van Wyk, is also responsible for planning the routes for the MTN Tulbagh races.

“It is, therefore, to be expected that some overlapping of the routes will occur. Personally I think that the MTN Tulbagh races will be quite a challenge for the riders who do not compete in the Epic, because they will not know what to expect.”

But, on the other hand, not racing the Epic will not necessarily be a drawback. It could actually be a blessing in disguise, because those riders will start the race well-rested. Eight days of racing the Epic drains much energy from any rider and it is debatable whether a rider can recover sufficiently within three weeks to be racing fit and fully competitive again.

Kevin Evans (FedGroup-Itec) had good reason to label the MTN Tulbagh ultra-race a ‘hard man’s race’.

Fair admits that the MTN Tulbagh is one of the tougher challenges of the series. “Riders can expect to do a lot of climbing.

However, knowing Pieter, it will be a true mountain-biking experience with lots of exciting single-track sections.

“Our goal is to take full advantage of the scenic beauty of the Saronsberg valley. Riders will see the route winding its way around cool farm dams, between luscious green vineyards and along rocky mountain tracks that are edged with indigenous fynbos, including proteas.”

The MTN Tulbagh event will start, as well as finish, at the Saronsberg Wine Estate.

The charming historical town of Tulbagh is situated in the winelands of the Boland in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.

The town is part of the Witzenberg municipal region and its neighbouring towns are Gouda, Wolseley, Ceres and Prince Alfred Hamlet.

The people of Tulbagh are renowned for their friendliness and easy going hospitality and the valley has become an attractive weekend getaway.

Proteas and herbs are indigenous. Peaches, pears, as well as 70 percent of the country’s plums, are cultivated in the shadow of the mountains. The valley is perhaps best known for its production of some of the country’s finest wines. Estate wines, such as Twee Jonge Gezellen, Drostdyhof and Theuniskraal, originated in the valley known as ‘Het Land van Waveren’ where wines have been cultivated since 1906.

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