The 2020 edition of the Cape Pioneer Trek will see the route retain its focus on diversity and rider enjoyment which has turned it into one of the most highly anticipated events on the mountain biking calendar.
Due to popular demand, the race directors have added an extra day at Louvain, shifting the action more into the remote mountainous areas of the Langkloof than ever before. The seven-day event from 6 to 12 September 2020 will cover a whopping 462km and incorporate 11 250m of elevation gain. Riders will also have the privilege of being unleashed onto virgin trails that are currently being constructed for the #RaceWithSoul.
The prologue route, #SaasveldSingletrack, is the most spectacular in years and boasts a brand new start at Saasveld. The trails, which are hand-built by passionate George mountain bikers, incorporate exhilarating, fast-flowing trails with sharp climbs and steep descents. Easy access for spectators will make the 16.3km route a fan favourite and give riders the support they need in their search for speed.
Stage one, #JonkersbergJewel, will take riders through the Jonkersberg Nature Reserve. New trails have been recently added to the already legendary single track in the area. Although the stage does not cover a large distance the technical terrain is sure to pose an early challenge. Spectacular views of George and the ocean close by will provide some respite for burning legs while clocking off 1750m of elevation gain.
Stage 2, #LusciousLouvain, will see the race leave the coast and head towards the interior in a northerly direction ending at Louvain, who will play host for the next two days. The stage is stacked with marvellous single-track riding for the first 25 kilometres through the Witfontein Nature Reserve. Riders will then tackle the iconic Montagu Mountain Pass and pass over into Herold, a sleepy village on the Northern slopes of the Outeniqua Mountains and home to some of the best-kept secrets in mountain biking. The stage comes to a close as the race sweeps into the beautifully kept trails of Louvain.
Stage 3, #LangkloofLiaison, is a brand new stage that will immerse riders in the pleasure of experiencing an area that has never been ridden before. The stage kicks off with a challenging climb up Duiwelskop, with the Indian Ocean providing a fabulous backdrop. The route then takes an easterly turn towards Uniondale via an old mountain track rarely used this century. Riders are lead on towards Eagles Falls and Buffelsdrift, skirting the southern foothills of the Kammanassie and then once again being welcomed home in Louvain after an epic day in the saddle.
#Kammanassie, Stage 4, returns in 2020 but this time with a different approach to the route. This infamous mountain will welcome riders into the arid, desert-like Karoo, both inhospitable but incomparable in its beauty. Riders descend through the valley towards De Rust and exit into the magnificent Lidikwe Reserve, eventually winding their way from a different angle towards the end in Oudtshoorn.
Stage 5, #SwartbergShowdown, boasts a mountain top finish as glorious as any other in the world. The World Heritage site that is the Swartberg Mountain is where the race for the overall yellow and pink jerseys reaches its climax and high drama is sure to unfold on its unrelenting slopes. Adding to the suspense is the unpredictable nature of the weather that is now so synonymous with this part of the race. In 2018 the stormy conditions shrouding the peak made it impossible for the race to go up it. Whether or not the mountain will decide to let riders grit their teeth in an attempt to summit is a mystery that will remain unknown right up until the race reaches the foothills of the pass.
Stage 6, #KingofQueens, caps offs an incredible seven days of riding. The stage, often regarded as one of the best, is revisited in 2020. The arduous climb at the start will separate the field and could determine the overall outcome. The gorgeous Chandelier Game Reserve is still on the menu for the day but will have a trick or two up its sleeve. The stage is all about having fun and is a celebration of the achievements of the week gone by. A fast race to the finish at the Queens Hotel draws to a close what will be a never to be forgotten experience.
| IMAGES: Zoon Cronje |