Absa Cape Epic Stage 1

Absa Cape Epic Stage 1

Whale Trails 

Every Friday morning, Jan Willemse would walk over the Klein River Mountains from Tesselaarsdal to Stanford, carrying his shoes over his shoulder to save them from being worn down. He would put them back on again just before he walked into Stanford. He would sit in the front room of Oom Japie Schoonwinkel with his sheep shears which he used to cut hair, and men would line up in queues to get their hair cut and listen to his stories. Stanford historian Esje du Toit

The route that Willemse used back in the 1950s is one that will live long in the minds of 2017 Absa Cape Epic competitors. The riders will confront the same tough climb – the Haarkappers Roete – when, after 60km of stage 1, they head up the rugged three-and-a-half kilometre zig-zag ascent from Tesselaarsdal. They will gain 350m in altitude on the climb before heading down the Barber’s Cut descent: if it is a clear day riders will enjoy views across Stanford down below and the ocean stretching to the horizon. Before that memorable and testing moment the 2017 Absa Cape Epic’s opening stage will give riders a sample of all that is best about the beautiful seaside town of Hermanus and its surrounds.

Traditionally associated with the whales frolicking in its bay, in recent years Hermanus has become a favourite MTB venue with trails snaking along the mountain that looms over the town centre and in the lush Hemel-en-Aarde Valley behind it. Soon after the start the route heads up Rotary Way and along the spine of the mountain before dipping down into the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

Then it is up the Nine One One Climb – you’ll know it by the phonelines overhead tempting you to call emergency services – and some ups and downs along the flanks and stunning wine farms of the Hemel-en-Aarde valley. Then it is Tesselaarsdal and the Haarkappers Roete over the Klein River Mountains. From the bottom of a potentially tricky descent the route turns back west towards Hermanus and riders will finish the day with a fun spin along the town’s urban assault mountain biking section.

Daily Live Streaming

Stages 1, 2, 4 & 6 – 9am – 12.20pm

Stages 3 & 5  –  8am – 11.20am