2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Series to host first leg in Stellenbosch
Cape Town, 28 September 2017 -Rising South African cross country star Alan Hatherly and World Champion Nino Schurter believe that the hosting of the first leg of the 2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Series presented by Shimano in Stellenbosch next March will leave a legacy in the Western Cape for years to come.
Hatherly, who brought home a superb silver medal in the under-23 UCI World Championships in Cairns recently, the first South African to win a medal at the championships since the late Burry Stander won gold in the under-23 category in 2009. With the World Cup on 10 March and the Absa Cape Epic from 18-25 March, the Western Cape will have the eyes of the cycling world firmly focused on the region.
“With the Absa Cape Epic, and now a World Cup taking place in South Africa, it will help tremendously with growing mountain biking in the country and will bring more world-class riders to us for training,” said Hatherly. “The terrain is perfect, and varied enough, to host multiple World Cups and I hope that in the future we will be able to do this every year.
“Winning the first cross country medal for my country since Burry Stander was an incredible feeling for me. I am so proud, and am looking forward to a home ground event and representing my country well there.”
Swiss superstar Schurter capped off a dominant international season in Cairns, when he powered away from 2012 Olympic and two-time Cape Epic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy on the final lap to win his sixth World Championship, a record. Schurter, who won Olympic gold in Rio in 2016, won all six of this year’s races in the UCI World Series after beginning his season with victory in the Absa Cape Epic with Scott-Sram teammate Matthias Stirnemann.
“When I first came to Stellenbosch 2010 to compete in the Absa Cape Epic, I loved the town and the riding in the area. I am really excited about the World Cup coming to my second home town” said Schurter
“I also come to train here every year because the trails and the weather are some of the best in the world, in my opinion.”
The UCI World Cup presented by Shimano is being staged by the organisers of the Absa Cape Epic on the Coetzenburg course used by the University of Stellenbosch, and will consist of four events, namely the men’s and women’s elite and under-23 categories. The course will be adapted to lift it to World Cup standard.
“It has been 20 years since Stellenbosch last hosted a World Cup,” said Glyn Bromberg, the race director. “There is a real desire in the Western Cape for international cycling, and to be able to put on an event of this magnitude is special for us. It would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors and suppliers, Absa, Mediclinic, Protea Hotels, Woolworths, AB In-Bev, Virgin Active, University of Stellenbosch, WESGRO and the Western Cape Government.”