Transition stages are often the longest days of an Absa Cape Epic, and that is the case for 2024’s Stage 3. Though it is also the only transition stage of the race…
Blending the buttery smooth tarmac of the recently resurfaced Bainskloof Pass with the rugged remoteness of the Waterval Nature Reserve Stage 3 is a mix of natural and manmade. An asphalt run out of Saronsberg starts the day before the course gets complex with a dual track climb into the wild. The summer sun will have slowed the waterfall to a trickle and turned Zuurvlakte to a valley of rock and sand, so be prepared for a rapid change in conditions. Kluitjeiskraal and Blueberry Hill continue the off-road climbing challenges, before Bergsig Wine Estate signals the resumption of smooth roads at the foot of Bainskloof. A loop above Andrew Geddes Bain’s most famous pass adds a sting to the tail of an otherwise manageable day, before a taste of the Wild Boar Trails introduces teams to Wellington. A route divided between asphalt and the untamed, it is the only transition stage of the 2024 race.
ADVICE FOR THE TEAMS:
Despite long sections on tar, Stage 3 is not to be underestimated. Teams who have struggled early in the race might use the day as a semi-recovery stage, ease back on the effort and make peace with dropping another start group going into Stage 4. At the sharp end there are opportunities to make up time and places too. No elite rider should forget Jaroslav Kulhavý powering past Cannondale Factory Racing, with Howard Grotts in tow, up Bainskloof Pass in 2018. That was the day the Specialized Factory Racing pair seized the yellow jerseys from Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini. A Matt Beers led train could do the same in 2024.
Route Director's Tip
It starts off easy, but just when you think “I think I’ve done this before…” you’ll take a left and take on some tough climbs and trails that the Absa Cape Epic has never visited before. It’s amazing to me that still we can ride new trails. This is real hardcore mountain biking and there’s a proper climb to get from the seaside to apple country.