Entries for the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope, which takes place in the Western Cape from 6-10 March 2017, will close on Friday 3 February 2017. The five-day tour, which is South Africa’s premier road stage race, takes the rider contingent on an unforgettable 5-stage journey through the Cape Winelands and boasts riding categories for both professionals and amateurs. Riders who would still like to enter can go to www.tourofgoodhope.co.za to secure their entry. “It genuinely feels like we’re building something really special. Now only in its second year of presentation, the tour already constitutes South Africa’s premier stage race,” said event convenor, Wynand de Villiers of ASG Events. “The success of the Tour is underpinned by the formula which sees amateurs being afforded the opportunity to ride in a tour alongside the pros and experience everything the pros do – a leader’s jersey, KOM competition, team competition and daily lunches and spoils at the race village.” “It’s also excellent preparation for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, which happens two days after the Tour. Without exception, every open/seeded rider who has taken part in the Tour rides their best Argus ever. “This year we have seen many mountain-bikers enter. The Absa Cape Epic starts two weeks after the tour and they see it as the perfect opportunity to sharpen up. “We’ve already confirmed the participation of Karl Platt, Christoph Sauser and Sam Gaze. Even veteran mountain-biker Mannie Heymans is getting in on the act – he’s bringing a Namibian team to ride in the Tour.” According to De Villiers, because the event takes place at a time when temperatures in Europe haven’t quite warmed up yet, the Tour of Good Hope has become an attractive proposition for European based pros and amateurs. “We have more than 100 amateur riders from Europe who have entered in the individual open/seeded category.” Paarl is a half hour drive from Cape Town on the N1, which has seen many Cape Town Cycle Tour riders elect to extend their stay in the Western Cape by a week to take part in the event. The race format comprises a central race village hub at the beautiful La Paris Estate just outside Paarl and five stages covering a total of 490km and 5218m of vertical ascent. The first stage is largely flat and fast and a nice leg loosener while stage 2 presents a 25km time trial. Riders entered in the Amateur Teams competition complete a Team Time Trial while solo riders do an individual race against the clock. Stages 3 and 4 are the Tour’s queen stages which traverse Franschhoek Pass, Du Toits Kloof Pass and Bains Kloof Pass. Both stages are presented over 140km respectively and are the major challenges of the 5-day Tour. The 5th stage is flat and fast, apart from the final ascent up to the Iconic Taal Monument finish on the Paarl Mountain. FOR ALL THE ROUTE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE Through basing itself in the Paarl/Franschhoek valley, costs and logistical hassles are kept to a minimum. Travelling and accommodation have been simplified while the incorporation of some of the best and most famous cycling routes and mountain passes in the Western Cape has really distinguishes the event. Further event info at www.tourofgoodhope.co.za. Get live updates on Facebook and Twitter.