Thanks to the vision of Fritz Pienaar and Advendurance, talented young mountain bikers in South Africa will get the opportunity during the MTN Sabie Event to test their skills against some of the world’s best.
Wessel van der Walt, race director of the MTN series, announced that from next year the Sabie Event will be a UCI-sanctioned event where many international ranking points will be on offer.
“The decision makers of the UCI have decided to put on a World Marathon series. It will be organized on the same principles as the UCI World Cup Cross-Country and Downhill series.
“Our Sabie Event, on 25 and 26 February 2012, will be the first of the series.”
According to Van der Walt there is an excellent chance that riders such as Karl Platt (Germany), one of the legends of the Cape Epic, Christoph Sauser (Specialized), Swiss world marathon champion and Burry Stander (Specialized) will be racing in Sabie.
“The MTN Sabie race will be perfect preparation for the Absa Cape Epic which starts four weeks later.
“I find it exciting that our young riders will have an opportunity to race against some of the world’s top riders. It will be a reality check for many of them and they will find out what they need to improve if they really want to be internationally competitive.”
Other interesting news about next year’s MTN series is that the Attakwas event will not be included in the series, but the Mabalingwe event will be incorporated.
“We would have loved to keep the Attakwas race because it is a well-organized and exciting event, but the problem is that we have no alternative to offer to the riders who do not want to race such a long distance. Logistically it is not possible to put a marathon on at the same time,” Van der Walt explained.
“We have decided on Mabalingwe because, although the MTN series is a national series, there has been no event in the north. Personally I think Mabalingwe can develop into one of the toughest races in the MTN series. We will look at possible improvements on the already great route at Mabalingwe”
The South African Marathon Championship will be the Gravel Travel at the Diemersfontein Wine Estate and it will take place on 23-24 August 2012.
The Marathon Championship is scheduled to take place later in the season next year, namely in October, because of the Olympic Games.
MTN NATIONAL SERIES Driven by NISSAN
28 January 2012 MTN Barberton Driven by Nissan MP
18 Feb 2012 MTN Tulbagh Driven by Nissan WC
25&26 Feb 2012 MTN Sabie Driven by Nissan MP
5&6 May 2012 MTN Clarens Driven by Nissan FS
12 May 2012 MTN Mabalingwe Driven by Nissan FS
25&26 Aug 2012 MTN Wellington Driven by Nissan WC
30 Sept 2012 MTN Hilton Dirt Fest Driven by Nissan KZN
14&15 Oct 2012 MTN Crater Cruise Driven by Nissan FS