The route of the 13th edition of the Absa Cape Epic, taking place from 13 to 20 March 2016, will have the highest proportion of single track than ever before (110km).
Both local and international mountain biking enthusiasts will be taking on the demanding eight day mountain bike adventure of 651km with 15 100m of climbing starting and ending at Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville.
The route, which changes significantly each year, will lead 1 200 cyclists through vast distances of virgin territory, previously untouched by the race. With its challenging and exhilarating landscapes, the stage locations of the Meerendal Wine Estate, Saronsberg in Tulbagh, Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Wellington and Boschendal in Stellenbosch await the most prestigious mountain bike stage race in the world.
The 2016 Route
The Absa Cape Epic 2016 route has been revealed and will contain more singletrack than ever before in the race’s 12-year-history. A total of 110km of the 654km route will be made up of singletrack trails as the eight-days of riding takes riders from Meerendal Wine Estate to Tulbagh, Wellington, Stellenbosch and back to Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville.
Although the 654km is shorter than previous years it includes more climbing per each of those kilometres than ever before. In 2016 riders will gain 15000m of vertical gain during the prologue and seven stages.
The world’s premier mountain bike stage race returns to Meerendal Wine Estate on March 13 for the 26km Prologue. Riders will then transfer to Tulbagh and lots of exhilarating new singletrack on Stages 1 and 2. Stage 3 runs south from Tulbagh to Wellington and the next day’s Stage 4 will be spent on the legendary trails of Welvanpas. Stage 5 includes five rugged climbs between Wellington and the new race village at Boschendal Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. Stage 6 will introduce riders to the mountain biking delights of the Stellenbosch region before Stage 7 takes them to the Grand Finale again at Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville … and the well-deserved status of Absa Cape Epic Finisher.
Live Rider Tracking
Cutting Edge Technology Changes the Way the Absa Cape Epic is Experienced by Riders and Supporters
The Absa Cape Epic has live tracking of the 600 rider teams over the entire eight-day race. Leading fleet management and vehicle recovery solutions company, Tracker Business supplies one specially-developed lightweight tracking device to each team.
The 79-gram unit relays live positioning information, such as speed and location, to the Absa Cape Epic website, where our team supporters, families and friends monitor riders' progress. Tracker Business also provides emergency and logistics vehicle tracking and intelligence for the duration of the race.
The relationship with the race further endorses Tracker’s broader safe cycling initiative - Ride Free - which focuses on providing safer cycling alternatives.
Muriel BouHet y Mercé Pacios han quedado décimas en la etapa prólogo de la Cape Epic. Un día para tomar el pulso de la carrera, templar nervios y afinar la compenetración. ¿Sensaciones? Sobre ruedas. Mañana empieza el primer gran reto: Más de 100 km y 2300 de desnivel acumulado
Prologue Wrap-up:Platt rides like the wind in Prol
Four-time Absa Cape Epic winner Karl Platt of Germany and Swiss partner Urs Huber (Bulls) laid down a marker for the week ahead by blitzing the course to win Sunday’s prologue.
And in the Women’s category South African Robyn de Groot and her Swedish teammate Jennie Stenerhag (Ascendis Health) gave notice that they will be a force in this year’s race when they beat favourites Ariane Kleinhans and Annika Langvad (Spur-Specialized).
Wind was the word of the day, which turned out to be rather fitting as Platt likes to talk about there being only one gas, “and that’s full gas”.
Going into the event as one of the pre-race favourites, the pressure was on the Bulls pair to live up to the hype after a few years of middling Absa Cape Epic results. With a flawless Prologue, they couldn’t have asked for a better start as they raced home on the 26km Meerendal course in 1:04.34,7.
The Swiss-German pairing Nicola Rohrbach and Matthias Pfrommer of Centurion Vaude by Meerendal 2 finished in second place, with Trek-Selle San Marco A’s Samuele Porro and Damiano Ferraro, both of Italy, rounding out the top three.
The other pre-race favourites, Kristian Hynek and Alban Lakata of Team Topeak Ergon Racing, battled on the day and only managed a ninth place finish, two minutes and 19 seconds behind Platt and Huber.
With five-time winner Christoph Sauser participating this year, but not racing competitively, the gap is there for Platt to tick off his fifth win. Judging by the huge smiles as he stepped on to the winner’s podium, things are going according to plan in the early stages of the race.
“I’ve never won the Prologue,” said Platt. “So to get off to such a good start makes me happy. The conditions were so tough, and we were battling a side-on wind at the top. There was nowhere to hide out there, so to have such an awesome ride was the best way to start. I’m confident about our team shape and I’m excited about the week ahead.”
Teammate Urs Huber said he felt the weight of expectation going into the Prologue. “People were talking about us as one of the favourites,” said Huber, “so it is good that we lived up to that. It shows the rest of the field that we mean business. Today went perfectly, but if I’m honest, there wasn’t too much time to think out there!”
The first South African team home was Team Spur, in fourth place, with James Reid and Gert Heyns putting their cross-country skills to good use on the shorter prologue course.
In the Women’s category De Groot carried her blistering recent form into the Prologue when she and Stenerhag grabbed hold of the leader jersey by finishing in 1:17.35,7.
In an exciting race, the South African/Swedish duo beat the 2014 and 2015 women’s winners Kleinhans and Langvad into second place by 18 seconds.
Neither De Groot nor Stenerhag were aware they were riding into first spot. “To be honest, I didn’t think we were doing a fantastic time, we just rode within ourselves,” said De Groot minutes after they crossed the finish line.
Stenerhag, equally as surprised, said: “We didn’t plan anything, we just wanted to do our best. We both had some patches of suffering and some patches of feeling really good, and they didn’t happen at the same time which was really good thing.”
Both were elated to win the Prologue. “A win is a win, and last year we won a stage under circumstances we didn’t really want to win, so this fair and square win is what we want,” said De Groot.
Kleinhans and Langvad were happy with their second place and complimented the winning women.
“I felt very good, I had a good race today, unfortunately not good enough for first place, but a really big congrats to Jennie and Robyn,” said Kleinhans.
“I like Meerendal as a prologue venue because there is much more singletrack and it’s much more technical – I really enjoy it,” said Ariane. “It’s so much fun riding here especially coming into the finish with a lot of berms and table tops. It’s a lot of fun. The week is still long and anything can happen so we are really going to fight for that jersey now.”
Third place finishers, Team Sport for Good’s Sabine Spitz and Yana Belomoina finished a minute behind Kleinhans and Langvad.
Meanwhile, Dutchmen John van de Wouw and Maikel Govaarts (Van de Haterd MTB) took a 31 second lead in the Masters category, finishing ahead of Australians Damien Jones and Brad Clarke (Hampton Cycles).
Interestingly, the fastest Grand Masters, South African Robert Sim and German Udo Boelts (Robert Daniel) were quicker than the leading Masters, finishing in 1:13.09,3. Second him in the 50-plus category but three minutes behind were Cycle Lab’s South African pairing of Andrew McLean and Doug Brown.
French pair Jean-Francois Bossler and Fanny Bourdon took a two-and-a-half minute lead in the Mixed category, finishing in 1:23.35,6. Next home in the male/female category and two-and-a-half minutes behind were Israeli teammates Idit Shub and Gal Tsachor (Trek Israel).
The Exxaro special jersey leaders after the Prologue are Phillimon Sebona and Lucky Mlangeni (Exxaro/PwC), who finished in 1:19.54, nearly three minutes ahead of Jan Montshioa and Thokozani Mahlangu (Exxaro/RMB).