647 kilometres, 14,960 metres in altitude and 1,200 participants â The Cape Epic 2016
The âUntamed African Mountain Bike Raceâ from 13th to 20th March includes magnificent mountain landscapes, wide-open African plains, indigenous forests and flourishing vineyards. 7 stages and the prologue make the Cape Epic to one of the toughest mountain bike stage races in the world.
The Absa Cape Epic is the worldâs premier mountain bike stage race. The route changes every year, leading aspiring amateur and professional mountain bikers from around the world through roughly 700km of unspoilt scenery and 15 000m of accumulated climbing, over some of the most magnificent mountain passes in Western Cape in South Africa.
The Absa Cape Epic is the most televised mountain bike stage race in the world and the only eight-day mountain bike stage race classed as hors catÃ©gorie by the Union Cycliste Interacionale (UCI). This official UCI status makes it a highlight on the professional racer’s calendar. The Absa Cape Epic also attracts aspiring amateur riders wanting to test themselves against the best. It is a full-service race, meaning that everything is taken care of from the start – all riders need to think about is riding.
A Tough Race Awaits
After the thrills, and a few spills, of the Absa Cape Epic Prologue in Meerendal on Sunday the riders and crew travelled up to Tulbagh for Mondayâs Stage 1.
As has become the tradition, the first stage will be a tough one. The riders will ascend 2 300m over 108km, a lot of it on rugged and rocky terrain.
This is a stage that will suit the marathon specialists and will give a good indication of ridersâ form for the event.
Topeak Ergon Racingâs Kristian Hynek and Alban Lakata lost a few minutes in the time trial at Meerendal and will be hoping to get back some time off the Bulls pairing of Karl Platt and Urs Huber. Defending womenâs champions Ariane Kleinhans and Annika Langvad (Spur-Specialized) were surprisingly beaten by Robyn de Groot and Jennie Stenerhag (Ascendis Health) and will also be determined to get into the leadersâ jerseys.
Tulbagh, nestled in a beautiful, lush valley, is beginning to earn a name for great mountain biking, thanks to the efforts of local enthusiasts. From the race village at Saronsberg Wine Estate, Stage 1 loops around the town in the Tulbagh bowl with more than a few trips up the slopes of its surrounding mountains. It will introduce riders to many of the new tracks in the area: watch out for The Bone Trail which is the Land Rover Technical Terrain of the day, The Labyrinth, Confuciusâs Bridge and the Fairy Loop. After some early climbing most of the cool sections are between the 45km to 70km marks, but include some rugged ascents â the profile for that section looks like a set of sharkâs teeth.
The 2016 Absa Cape Epic mountain bike stage race takes place from 13 to 20 March and the much anticipated racing updates can be viewed here. The 2016 race will host the 100th stage in the history of the event â the EPIC100 â on Tuesday 15 March.