The Absa Cape Epic is the most televised mountain bike race in the world and the only eight-day mountain bike stage race classed as hors catégorie by the Union Cycliste Internationale (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.
The race must be completed by both members of a two-person team with only 680 teams allowed to ride the race each year. Every edition follows a different route, leading aspiring amateur and professional mountain bikers from around the world through roughly 700 untamed kilometres of unspoiled scenery and up 16 000m of climbing.
The Absa Cape Epic route team takes two years to plan exactly where in South Africa’s rugged Western Cape riders will test themselves with a distance of around 700km and 17 250m climbing. The route is a well-kept secret until it is announced each year. Guaranteed each year are challenging traverses of iconic fynbos valleys, majestic mountain ranges, deep ravines, indigenous forests, spectacular coastlines, and flourishing vineyards.
The terrain is as varied as it is harsh – dusty and demanding gravel roads, strenuous rocky climbs, thrilling technical descents, refreshing river crossings, and fast forest singletracks. The route gives riders and fans the opportunity to experience the historic and scenic towns in the Western Cape, many of them off the beaten tourist track, and more than 40 towns have been visited since 2004.
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