The Absa Cape Epic has a hard-earned reputation for delivering challenging Stage 1s. 2024 is no different. 2 450 metres of climbing across 90 kilometres only start to tell the story of a race-defining day…
Bravery will be required on Stage 1. Tulbagh, once a frontier town, is still an untamed mountain biking destination. New trails and established challenges ensure a fittingly difficult day. Four major climbs punctuate the day with Raptor Rise setting a tone of sweeping switchbacks through fynbos, continued by Boegoe and the Kliprivier Trails. Fanti’s Pass, infamous in its intensity ensures the day’s elevation gain easily exceeds 2 000 meters. It’s not just all challenges and climbing though. Singletracks, never before ridden in a race, like Jan se Bos offer a welcome reward for uphill toils, as do established trails like Assegaaibos and God’s Window. Fortune will favour the brave on this stage. But the line between bravery and foolishness can be a fine one, so be warned.
ADVICE FOR THE TEAMS:
Stage 1 is a true test of each team’s Absa Cape Epic preparation. Starting conservatively is a wise approach. Try not to get caught up in the excitement and adrenaline. Remember too that the Prologue was perhaps a deceiving day, teams will only find their level later in the race, so expect to be passed and to have to pass others as combinations rise or drop from start groups on the opening marathon day. Be patient, exercise caution and ride your own race.
Route Director's Tip
Don’t think you’ve done it all in Hermanus. We made the stage a little shorter but that’s so we could add more of the good stuff in the Hemel en Aarde valley – some superb singletrack awaits the riders. Some familiar, some fresh. They’re linked with some ‘Absa Cape Epic-specific’ trails that are unrideable outside of the event. Take note… steep climbs and long, technical descents.