The world-class mountain biking destination has hosted several UCI MTB World Cup events since 2009, a UCI MTB & Trials World Championship event and a UCI MTB Marathon World Championship amongst others, making it a must-do destination on the racing calendar. With the inaugural PMB MTB Festival taking part in 2015, mountain bike lovers witnessed a multitude of races for riders of varying ages and abilities, from beginners to pros, young and old.
The top attraction at the 2016 PMB MTB Festival for Elite cross-country specialists in the Olympic year is the UCI HC-rated XCO race, where Elite Men and Women will take advantage of the high-ranking UCI points on offer on the African continent in a bid to garner points towards their Olympic qualification.
South Africa, Africa and the world’s best are set to descend upon Cascades MTB Park to tackle the familiar, challenging routes set by MTB course designer extraordinaire, Nic Floros.
Event organiser, Alec Lenferna, said: “The focus of the PMB MTB Festival allows for more variety and inclusivity and it sees beginners taking part in some instances. It must however never be forgotten that Pietermaritzburg is one of the leading competition venues in the world.
“To this end, the UCI HC level cross-country competition for Elite Men and Women – which is only one level lower than the UCI World Cup level and carries extensive prize money and qualifying points for the Olympic Games – is an event of great importance and attractiveness to riders and National Federations.”
The cross-country will also appeal to the Junior riders as the event is one of three in South Africa this year that form part of the UCI Junior World Series. Junior Men and Women are able to earn UCI HC points as part of their own World Series to qualify and get seeded for the 2016 UCI MTB World Championships in Nove Mesto na Morave (CZE) from 28 June to 3 July.
Other events to keep mountain bikers competitive for the duration of the three-day festival is the 2016 SA MTB Masters Marathon Championships for riders aged 30-and-above, which has been included in the PMB MTB Festival plans for the next three years. The culminating event of the KwaZulu-Natal Sport and Recreation’s mountain biking development programme will be run at the world class Cascades facility; as well as Enduro racing for the thrill-seekers and a leg of the KZN Inter-Schools MTB Series.
The Pietermaritzburg MTB Festival takes place at Cascades MTB Park from 30 April to 2 May 2016. For more information, click here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-pmb-mtb-festival/