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The new Liberty 250 road and mountain bike stage race which takes place in the Ballito area of the KwaZulu-Natal north coast in August ticks many boxes for South African cyclists and could turn out to be the next big event on the race calendar.
Event organiser Barry Holland of the Race Organisation Company (ROC) has drawn on his vast experience as both a competitor and an event organiser to come up with the exciting concept for this three-day event which takes place from August 10-12.
The Liberty 250, which was launched in Durban on Thursday, is in reality two events rolled into one.
Road riders riding in the Liberty 250 have a chance to compete in a 250km, three-day, four-man team stage race on the rolling roads in the Ballito area. Mountain bikers riding the Liberty 150, will be able to enjoy 150km of the sublime Holla Trails in their event for two-man teams, also over three days.
Mountain bikers are used to competing teams in multi-day stage races, but for the average weekend warrior road cyclist the concept is relatively rare and should provide lots of intrigue and excitement as tactics develop out on the road.
Both events will start and finish at the Sugar Rush Park on the outskirts of Ballito with the race village and all activities based at the popular cycle park.
The road riders’ three days begin with an undulating 124km opening stage on Friday, August 10. They follow that up with an 86km ride that contains some testing hills on the Saturday, and then wrap up the event with a fast 39km on Sunday, 12 August. The road riders will compete in four-man teams, with the third-rider’s time counting for each day’s result.
On each of the first two days there will be three King of the Mountain Hot Spots for the road riders, with the first complete team to reach the pinnacle of each climb claiming the prize. The fast, flat third day will have a Sprint Prime at about 24km.
Holla Trails are putting together a new single track-laden route for the mountain bikers with the course for two-man teams featuring new and existing trails of about 65km on Friday, 53km on Saturday and wrapping up with a 32km challenge on Sunday.
Both the road and the MTB event will offer prizes in all-male, all-female and mixed categories. Solo riders can compete but are not eligible for category prizes.
Both events will be chip timed with riders receiving timing chips in their race packs, along with a top-quality race jacket and an impressive goodie bag. The entry fee of R1 500 per rider also includes a meal and drink each day, as well as well-stocked water points, mechanical backup and medals to all finishers.
Holland, who holds the record for running 45 consecutive Comrades Marathons and has organised many large-scale events, including the popular Deloitte Challenge, is excited about the Liberty 250.
“I think this event could become my favourite event to organise and a favourite for cyclists to ride,” said Holland before the launch this week. “It brings together road cyclists and mountain bikers, and provides roadies with a chance to experience the fun and tactics of riding in a team.
“Mountain bike events such as the sani2c and Epic have become popular on the basis of two-man teams, and I think road riders will take to the concept as well. Add in the fact the undulating roads around Ballito are ideal for a race, and the wonderful Holla Trails has some of the best mountain biking routes in the country, and you have the venue for a perfect race.
For any further information please contact:
Race Organiser: Barry Holland – 083 252 0691
Media queries: Tim Whitfield – 031 261 2951 or 072 12 52 382
Barry is a born-and-bred Natal boy and lives in Ballito with his wife, Debbie. He is a Comrades Icon and widely respected in as a Race Director having staged some of the premier races in South Africa. He has incredible determination, clearly demonstrated in that he has run 44 consecutive Comrades Marathons. Barry adds the star quality to any race with his skill, experience and dogged determination to host world-class events.