Ahead of the much-anticipated second edition of the Underberg Gran Fondo, organisers have heard calls from riders and included a shorter 45km option for the 2023 event on Sunday, 30 July.
2022’s inaugural edition of the gravel classic was well received by riders across the board, and 2023 is gearing up to be even more popular as the event has joined the Gran Fondo World Tour Gravel Series and organisers have listened to suggestions from riders that took part last year.
“There has been a lot of interest already in this year’s race and we’ve only just opened the entries,” organiser Pierre Horn said.
“After last year’s race we had a few of the older riders requesting that we add a shorter distance so this year we will have a 45km route that will be more than doable for all riders.
“It’s going to be called the Underberg Gran Fondo Tour de Farms, because the route takes riders through the farming community which is exciting, and we are looking forward to making the route public shortly.
“The new distance opens the event to so many more riders and the interest already suggests that it will be a popular distance.”
The event already offers the long 140km route, the 90km and now the short 45km race and this year the Underberg Gran Fondo has also been included on the Gran Fondo World Series.
“We’re the only Gran Fondo in South Africa that’s included on the Gravel World Series and we hope that maybe in 2024 we will get riders from overseas coming to take on our race.
“The gravel riding discipline is definitely still growing because it caters to so many different riders and it’s appealing for those MTB riders who don’t necessarily like the single track or technical riding.
“Also, it takes the roadies off the busy main roads, and a bonus is that it you get some of the best views when you ride along the gravel,” Horn added.
The Southern Drakensberg provides the ideal backdrop for a gravel race, but it has a lot more to offer.
“We want to create a family-orientated event and there is so much to do in and around Underberg.
“From the museums to the incredible trails at the Sani Spoors; we are trying to cater to the whole family because Underberg is always a fantastic weekend away.”