As international mountain bikers start a series of 14 races in breathtaking locations around the world, South Africa has for the first time joined the list of grueling events, the first country in the southern hemisphere to be added. The April event, the 171-kilometre Swartberg100 Gran Fondo, goes across the Swartberg Pass.

gran fondo mtb race swartberg100 south africa

The Swartberg100 was started in 2016 (watch the video at the end) and besides going across the iconic gravel Swartberg Pass passes through the Meiringspoort valley. (Anyone who would like to join the main race and several other events on 25 April – a shorter distance event, a relay race and an e-bike event – click here.)

Announcing the Gran Fondo World Tour – “focused on the splendor of cycling in the most remarkable locations” – the organisers, based in Andorra, said there would be 14 events on 4 continents this year, with the Swartberg100 the only one in the southern hemisphere. The first event, earlier in February, took place in the Gran Canaria islands, and others will be held in California and Kazakhstan and Phuket.

gran fondo mtb race swartberg100 south africa

The Swarberg100, according to its organisers, “is one of the toughest Gran Fondo’s in the world. We have created a course that goes back to the days of old when mountain passes were all gravel and brave cyclists climbed them on single speed bikes weighing in at 16 kg. A course that allows us to pit our modern training knowledge and technology against an old foe, a road surface that isn’t always friendly.”

gran fondo mtb race swartberg100 south africa


It starts and ends int the picturesque Karoo town of Prince Albert, covers 171 km of which there are 3 gravel sectors covering 79 km. The final climb is over the gravel Swartberg Pass, a relentless climb of 28 km, the last 9.8 km being on gravel with gradients of 16 percent in places.

gran fondo mtb race swartberg100 south africa

gran fondo mtb race swartberg100 south africa
Photos by Peter Kirk. from Swartberg100.

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South Africa's first Gravel Gran Fondo has made World Tour status. Don't miss out on an opportunity to take part this year. It's a great autumn weekend in the Karoo.Official Event of the 2020 GRAN FONDO WORLD TOUR®.https://www.swartberg100.com/.#Swartberg100 #ChooseYourWeapon #GranFondo #100milerseries #cyclinglife #PowerBar #SquirtChainLube

Posted by Swartberg 100 on Saturday, February 8, 2020