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Cape Epic is coming to S’bosch

For the first time the iconic Cape Epic MTB Race will make Stellenbosch part of this world renowned race.

The 2019 route challenges of this world-renowned event will reward and offer spectators the most revealing view of the untamed African MTB race yet.

Eight days, 624 km and 16 650 metres of climbing lie between the prologue at the University of Cape Town and the Grand Finale at the Val de Vie Estate outside Paarl.

In 2019, three stages battle for the honour of being dubbed the Queen Stage. The remaining days are anything but easy and, true to form, even the shorter stages pack a significant punch.

This will be an Absa Cape Epic where form and mental and mechanical preparation are rewarded.

The prologue is on Sunday 17 March, over a distance of 21 km at the University of Cape Town. It will provide the first shake-up of the general classification as well as hints of who has prepared best for the herculean task at hand.

Stage 1 on Monday 18 March, over a distance of 112 km, takes place in and around Hermanus. Rotary Drive, the La Vierge stairs and the Paddocks set the tone for a day of relentless ascents before the day’s first spectator point at Creation Wines.

Stages 3 and 4, on Tuesday 19 March and Wednesday 20 March, travel from Hermanus and end at Oak Valley in Elgin.

Stage 5 ends at Stellenbosch, 100 km from the start of the stage at Oak Valley, and has a 5-star rating with a climb to 2 850 m. Stage 6 on 23 March is a roundabout in Stellenbosch mountains, climbing to 2 650 m.

The old saying goes that there are only two certainties in life – death and taxes. When mountain biking in Stellenbosch, another two can be added – single tracks and vineyard climbs. Stage 6 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic starts with Heart Break Hill within the first kilometre. Then it is onwards and upwards, because Botmaskop needs to be conquered in order to earn the right to swoop down Skyfall. No circumnavigation of the Banhoek Valley is complete without Nik Naks, a technical climb and descent.

The climb to Tokara in the Simonsberg follows, before descending into Rustenberg Wines. The route back to Stellenbosch takes a lower line, but still requires climbing all the way back to Botmaskop, where the final thrill of the day is provided by the revitalised World Cup Downhill track from the late nineties.

Stage 7 starts in Stellenbosch and ends 70 km later at Val de Vie on Sunday 27 March.

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