Top South African professional cyclist Hanco Kachelhoffer is looking forward to the concept of a two-day stage race when he competes in the Sanlam MTB Invitational at Rhebokskloof Wine Estate near Paarl on November 19 and 20.
Previously a single-day event, race organisers ASG Events have extended it to two stages (60km and 40km), believing there is a gap in the market for a race of this nature.
Kachelhoffer, who is an accomplished road cyclist but now focuses on mountain biking, said he was sure the concept would be a winner.
“A lot of events are over a single day or three days or more, and I think the two-day idea makes sense, obviously tying in with a weekend,” said the 31-year-old Altech Autopage Pro Cycling rider.
“Normally, after a big build-up, there is so much excitement for a one-day event and then the next day there is nothing. Placing it over two days gives it that additional element.
“Obviously, if you are riding with someone, it doesn’t help to break your partner on day one and there’s nothing left for day two.
“I specialise in stage races, so I would always choose a multiday event over a one-day race,” said Kachelhoffer, who teamed up with Pieter Seyffert to finish fourth in this year’s nine-day joBerg2c.
Kachelhoffer, who will again link up with Seyffert for the Sanlam MTB Invitational, said he felt some riders lost interest in the longer events after a few days and that two or three-day events were perfectly suited to cycling in South Africa.
“I think everyone loves the shorter multiday events and the two-day concept should work.”
He anticipated a good challenge from a route that circled Paarl Mountain on the opening day and involved some climbing on day two.
“I have never done a race in the Paarl-area on a mountain bike so I don’t know it very well.
“But having moved to Paarl in the last month, I have learnt a bit about some of the trails. There’s lots of climbing, but it should be a fun route.”
In the sections he had encountered on his training rides, Kachelhoffer described the single-track as fast and flowing and believed the route would make for an exciting race.
“It’s actually short enough for a few teams to stay together and then I think possibly whoever has the best climbing legs on the day could end up riding away.”
Although he still competed in premier road events such as the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope and Jock Tour, the former SA time-trial champion said his focus had moved to multiday mountain bike events.
“Cycling is massive globally but in South Africa mountain biking seems to be exploding, so I’m very much focused on that now.”