More roads for cycling tour to cover in Limpopo

The fourth and final stage of the 2019 Tour de Limpopo (UCI 2.2) will ascend the Magoebaskloof Pass - a Category 2 climb - where the final King of the Mountain hotspot of the tour will be up for grabs © TourDeLimpopo/HaydsBrown

The fourth and final stage of the 2019 Tour de Limpopo (UCI 2.2) will ascend the Magoebaskloof Pass - a Category 2 climb - where the final King of the Mountain hotspot of the tour will be up for grabs © TourDeLimpopo/HaydsBrown

There are more roads to cover in the 2019 edition of the Tour de Limpopo, which kicks off in Bela Bela this year on Wednesday 15 May as a new destination on the race’s map. The additional route stop affirms the Limpopo Tourism Agency’s slogan of “More to Enjoy” as cycling teams and their support crew, spectators and fans alike experience more of what the province has to offer.

Starting at Bela Bela, a new destination for this year’s event, riders begin stage one and race 181 kilometres to Polokwane along the R101, passing game farms, agriculture and farming activities such as the grape-growing regions along the route. The first Sprint hotspot is at the 23km mark soon after Modimolle, where riders will continue on to Mookgopong to find the second Sprint hotspot at 68km. Along the route to Makapane the third sprint takes place at 118km into the race. Riders will pass the Makapan Valley World Heritage Site and experience the climb up Ysterberg, which is the only King of the Mountain (KOM) hotspot of the day. The challenge will be gruelling with the steepest elevation being 4.5%. The race then descends into Polokwane for the finish.

Stage two departs Peter Mokaba Stadium to Tzaneen in much the same format as the first day of the 2018 edition. The peloton heads towards the Savannah Mall where the racing will begin in earnest. The day’s stage covers 96.6km with 1266m of climbing and passes Nobody Circle, with the Sprint hotspot located at the 26.6km mark opposite Paledi Mall. The next landmark is the fast descent past the Zionist Church site of Moria, where over three million pilgrims attend religious ceremonies over the Christian Easter Weekend. Riders will also tackle the KOM hotspot at 56.6km before descending towards Haenertsburg before the climb to the top of the Magoebaskloof Pass. The fast eight-kilometre descent of Magoebaskloof will keep the racers wide awake as they snake their way to the bottom of the pass and onto Tzaneen.

The peloton will pass the Zionist Church site of Zion City Moria, where over three million pilgrims attend religious ceremonies over the Christian Easter Weekend, on the 96.6km second stage of the 2019 Tour de Limpopo (UCI 2.2) from 14-18 May © TourDeLimpopo/HaydsBrown

The peloton will pass the Zionist Church site of Zion City Moria, where over three million pilgrims attend religious ceremonies over the Christian Easter Weekend, on the 96.6km second stage of the 2019 Tour de Limpopo (UCI 2.2) from 14-18 May © TourDeLimpopo/HaydsBrown

The third stage will please the mountain goats as the arduous 103-kilometre stage with a 1973m elevation gain leaves Tzaneen and heads towards Modjadjiskloof along the R36. The route passes Ga-Kgapane, a large inhabited area within the Greater Letaba municipality. Undulating hills will take the peloton to the first KOM at 36.9km, thereafter a few more undulating hills and a long descent toward Tzaneen Dam. The route heads towards Tarantaal and passes Nkowankowa township and traverses the R36. At 93.75km, the race turns up the final climb of the day, up Old Coach House where the finish will be on the mountain top at the Coach House boutique hotel. The hilltop finish offers double points at the KOM finish-line hotspot.

The monster fourth and final stage takes the peloton along 116km from Tzaneen to Polokwane with 2134m climbing. The final Sprint hotspot is positioned before the climb at 14.5km and may determine the winner of the Sprinters Jersey for the tour. The top of Magoebaskloof Pass offers the final KOM hotspot of the tour – a Category 2 climb! Riders then tackle the long undulations back to the Peter Mokabe Stadium at Polokwane, where the Overall General Classification tour leader will be crowned as well as the Jersey riders acknowledged for Sprinters, KOM, Best Young Rider, Most Aggressive Rider and Team Classification.

Limpopo province and its beautiful participating towns are ready to welcome the 2019 Tour de Limpopo, whether you’re a competing team, support crew, or families and friends. Every evening, riders and support teams will be presented with a dinner prize giving to acknowledge the daily winners, along with cultural activities synonymous with the province’s cultural flair while embracing the rich cultural diversity of Limpopo.

Mylene Paynter