2017 LIBERTY WINELANDS ENCOUNTER
Entries for the 2017 Liberty Winelands Encounter open on Friday, 16 September 2016.
The 3-stage Winelands Encounter, which has earned the tagline “South Africa’s most beautiful Race”, takes place on 21-23 April 2017 and covers the historical towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Wellington – the most beautiful part of the Cape Winelands with the most scenic mountains, best MTB trails and, don’t forget, the best wine!
FRIDAY 14 APRIL
MATIES CRICKET CLUB HOUSE AT COETZENBURG CRICKET FIELDS TO LE FRANSCHHOEK HOTEL
Distance: 54km; Total ascent: 1500m
Starting at the Maties Cricket Club House at Coetzenburg Cricket Fields, the infamous Botmaskop climb soon starts, as you attack the Kop. Whilst Botmaskop will do its part to split the bunch, it will also reward you with some of the most beautiful views of any stage race. We’ve added some switchback singles to allow for more gradual climbs and rewarding views. As you reach the highest point passing Luiperd se Fyndraai you will experience some of the best and most scenic switchback singles (incl. Rose’s Bartinney Skyfall) taking you down into the Banhoek Valley. Around the Banhoek mountains on single tracks, via the exclusive and historic Boschendal and L’ormirans wine farms towards Franschhoek. Another climb pass the Bergriver dam wall on another single along and eventually over the dam. Then the last major climb out of the dam to finish to finish at the luxurious Le Franschhoek Hotel. Stage 1 introduces you to a constant three day MTB experience of Cape Mountains, valleys, winelands, historic towns and venues and good MTB riding.
SATURDAY 15 APRIL
LE FRANSCHHOEK HOTEL TO KLEINE VALLEIJ
Distance: 57km; Total ascent: 1300m
Relatively easy riding, with the route skirting most of the mountain ranges of the Winelands, including Drakenstein, Du Toitskloof and Hawekwa mountains. The major climb of the day starts at Cascade Manor on some beautifully cut single track and takes the riders up to Hawekwa Plantation. From here, there are breathtaking views of the Winelands and all the way to the Swartland, followed by exhilarating riding to the finish at Kleine Valleij.
The stage also includes a trip through the Drakenstein Prison. In the prison, formerly known as Victor Verster, the event will pass by the famous statue of Nelson Mandela which was erected following his release from the prison in the early nineties, and riders will also pass by the house in which he was held captive during the latter years of his incarceration.
SUNDAY 16 APRIL
Distance 48km; Total ascent: 1100m
Supposed to be a fun day, but definitely not without some proper climbing. The day includes some of the famous Cape Epic trails such as Rollercoaster, Point Break, Cool Runnings and the Bobsled. Riders will experience a day filled with beautiful trails, views and all the Winelands has to offer.