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Absa Cape Epic

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Absa Cape Epic

Gear up to conquer some of the Cape’s most challenging trails in one of the world’s most arduous mountain biking races

Billed as the ‘Untamed African Mountain Bike Race’, the 2016 Absa Cape Epic is nothing short of what its name suggests: epic!

This incredible test of endurance sees some of the world’s most elite professional and amateur riders traverse across 647km of some of the most beautiful and unforgiving routes in the Western Cape. This year the event will pedal off from the University of Cape Town on Sunday, 13 March and come to an end on Sunday, 20 March 2016 at the Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville, after travelling through Tulbagh, Wellington and Stellenbosch.

Now in its 13th year, the demanding competition holds fast to its Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) status as ‘Hors Categorie (beyond categorisation)’ – it was the first ever team mountain bike race to achieve this.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE 2016 ABSA CAPE EPIC

THE TECHNICAL STUFF: The eight-day escapade sees 600 teams of two, in five different categories – men, women, mixed, masters (40 years or older) and grand masters (50 years or older) – traverse 647km (at a total vertical gain of 14 950m).

NEW ROUTES: Committed to providing riders with a unique experience, the race organisers devise a new route each year, leading the 1 200 riders up strenuous rocky climbs, over dusty gravel paths and magnificent river crossings, along forested singletracks and down thrilling, technical downhills. In 2016 the course may be shorter than usual but there is more climbing per kilometre and more singletrack than ever before.

PIT STOPS AND SCENERY: This year the arduous competition takes mountain bikers through virgin territory across the Western Cape. Teams kick off their week-long adventure with a 21km time trial at the Absa Cape Epic Prologue at the University of Cape Town and promptly head to Tulbagh for the first two stages of the race, with the third stage finishing off in Wellington. From there duos will tackle tough terrain in Wellington before making their way to the end point in Durbanville.

AFTER EACH STAGE: Teams must stay together at all times (there are penalties if two members are more than two minutes apart at any race stage), and the cut-off time for the race varies from stage to stage. The winners of each leg of the race will be given prize money and prizes at the end of the day, and leaders in the overall classification are awarded leader jerseys.

THE FINISH LINE: As always, the Absa Cape Epic ends off with as much – if not more – of a bang than it starts with. Spectators can welcome the weary riders at the final stage of the route at the finishing line at the Absa Cape Epic Grand Finale at the Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville.

EPIC LOUNGE AT THE GRAND FINALE: This year you can experience premium hospitality at the Epic Lounge. This luxurious space is the perfect spot to cool off and watch the cyclists cross the finish line with gourmet food and drinks, a live TV broadcast and a programme of events that will keep you entertained throughout the closing day of the event. Tickets cost R1 700p/p for persons over the age of 12 years.

SPECTATOR INFORMATION: Whether you’re keen to see what the Absa Cape Epic is all about or simply want to cheer on your favourite rider, the spectator guide on the Absa Cape Epic website has all the rules, regulations and information you need to safely urge on the participants. While fans are encouraged to support the teams, spectators are urged to obey the marshals at all times and not to assist any of the riders taking part in the race (simply holding the bike while the rider pumps up a flat tyre can earn them a penalty).

REGISTRATION FOR THE 2016 ABSA CAPE EPIC

Registration for the 2016 race will take place at The Lookout Venue at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday, 12 March 2016 from 9am to 2pm. If you fail to register you will lose your entry into the race.

Everyone MUST be registered by 2pm; NO late registrations will be allowed.

Riders need to register as a team, and each member of a pair must bring along a form of photo identification (ID or passport). Teams will receive their race packs with all the information they need regarding the race as well as their rider bags and participation shirts. Participants have the opportunity to drop off any bags or bike boxes, both of which will be securely stored for the duration of the race and will be made available for collection at the finishing line at the Meerendal Wine Estate.

At 11am at the V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre riders can watch the race briefing video, but it will be made available on their website as well.

HOW TO ENTER THE 2016 ABSA CAPE EPIC

The mountain bike race is limited to 1 200 participants each year and due to its popularity spaces fill up well before race day. Early Bird and Lottery Entries are now CLOSED but there are still a few ways to guarantee a spot in the race. You can enter the race via one of the charities (at a cost), or better still, join the volunteer programme to get a feel for the event and guarantee an entry for the 2017 Absa Cape Epic.

Eager participants looking to enter the 2017 event will need to keep their fingers on the pulse as early bird entries sell out within minutes.

The full entry (R59 600 per team) must be paid immediately to secure a spot. For more information on how to register, go to Cape-epic.com.

WAYS TO ENTER THE 2016 OR 2017 ABSA CAPE EPIC

EARLY BIRD:

On a first-come, first-served basis. Only 100 of these entries for the next year’s race are made available the day after the race finishes (opens at 3pm on Monday, 21 March 2016).

LOTTERY:

The bulk of the entries are allocated via a public lottery process (closes on Saturday, 28 May 2016).

WILDCARD:

Reserved for top Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) registered riders, previous podium winners, previous World Champions or Olympic medallists who are not competing for UCI points, and mixed, masters and grand masters athletes who are competing for a category win. Entries are offered at the discretion of the organisers.

CHARITY:

Support a worthy cause and race the Absa Cape Epic. Partner charities are assigned a certain number of race entries, which they then sell at an increased fee.

MEDIA:

A limited number of entries are available on request to journalists who wish to experience the race first-hand.

VOLUNTEERS:

Absa Cape Epic volunteers receive a guaranteed entry to the following year's race.


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