The Mpumalanga Cycle Tour is getting bigger and better.

The organisers have increased the distance and the number of climbs for next year’s edition and this time it will start in the Lowveld and end on the Highveld.

It’s the toughest and longest cycle tour in South Africa and has produced riders who have gone on to represent major international teams.

It comprises of six stages and 775 kilometres with climbs of up to 12 500 metres.

It will start at Blyde River Canyon and finish at Loskop Dam.

Hendrik Wagener of Mpumalanga Cycle Union “Now it’s more climbs like we had in the past, this will makes us the biggest and hardest tour in South Africa over six days.  There’s no other tour that is over six days in South Africa and I believe it is the tour de force only the best will finish.”

Juniors, ladies and vets will participate over the first three stage for the first time riders, the excitement is palpable.

Cyclist Qhawe Mdluli says: “I have been practising for this race for quite some time now and I think I’m ready for those distances.”

Brendan Phillips another participating cyclist says: “Lately we have been training in Sabie, doing all those climbs and going to Graskop and Hazyview riding all the biggest climbs in the Lowveld by doing that we will be ready for the tour coming up and we have to wait for what the legs can do then, but I’m sure it will be good.”

Government and sponsors are also putting their feet on the pedals and chipping in.

Sibongile Nkosi of Mpumalanga Department of Sport and Recreation elaborates: “Cycling has always been seen as an elite sport, we are involved so we can also bring those coming from disadvantage areas.”

Heidi Halgryn from Forever Resorts: “It’s one of our dreams to always ensure that we get involved in sports events and the youth in the provinces that is why we started this venture two years ago and last year we had international riders using the same tour as a testing ground and training.”

The tour will start on the 13th of January and finishes six days later at Loskop Dam.