The Return of The Race That Measures All

The lead bunch during stage 6 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from the University of Stellenbosch Sports Fields in Stellenbosch, South Africa on the 23rd March 2019 Photo by Greg Beadle/Cape Epic

600 riders, including World, National and Continental Champions; Olympians, newbies, and the winners of the first Absa Cape Epic, have arrived in the Western Cape to tackle The Race That Measures All. On Sunday (17 October 2021), exactly 938 days since the chapter was closed on the 2019 Absa Cape Epic, The Race That Measures All makes a grand return.

Karl Platt of BULLS Legends leads the bunch during stage 2 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Hermanus High School in Hermanus to Oak Valley Estate in Elgin, South Africa on the 19th March 2019 Photo by Nick Muzik/Cape Epic

From all over the world, 600 riders have descended on the Western Cape with one thing in mind, proving that they have what it takes to tackle the Untamed African MTB Race and etch their name into The Book of Legend when they cross the final finish line at Val de Vie Estate on Sunday, 24 October 2021.Between the teams and a spot in history lies a route which has been dormant since the Absa Cape Epic was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A route that has felt the full force of two, wet Western Cape winters and a scorching summer.

Ladies lead bunch during stage 2 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from Hermanus High School in Hermanus to Oak Valley Estate in Elgin, South Africa on the 19th March 2019 Photo by Greg Beadle/Cape Epic

A route that is wild and willing to stop any teams who have arrived unprepared. To those who have arrived with fine-tuned fitness, proven partnerships and the mental fortitude to go the distance, the rewards of the 2021 Absa Cape Epic are however going to be unmatched.

Riders with mountains in the background during stage 6 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from the University of Stellenbosch Sports Fields in Stellenbosch, South Africa on the 23rd March 2019 Photo by Xavier Briel/Cape Epic

Route recap

8 days. 620 kilometres. 15 350 metres of vertical ascent. Rugged mountain dual tracks and rocky singletracks through pristine fynbos. Sandy farm road between manicured orchards. Bone-rattling descents off ancient mountain ranges. This is the 2021 Absa Cape Epic route, proudly brought to you by Land Rover, the Official Vehicle and Route Partner. Wild and untamed. The pinnacle of mountain bike stage racing. The Race That Measures All.

Prologue: Table of The Cape

Distance: 20km

Climbing: 600m

Location: Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town

Stage 1: Saddle Up

Distance: 98km

Climbing: 1850m

Location: Ceres

Stage 2: Forgive My Sins

Distance: 96km

Climbing: 2100m

Location: Ceres to Saronsberg, Tulbagh

Stage 3: The Winter Summit

Distance: 91km

Climbing: 2100m

Location: Saronsberg, Tulbagh

Stage 4: The Forgotten Valley

Distance: 73km

Climbing: 1650m

Location: Saronsberg, Tulbagh – CPUT, Wellington

Stage 5: The Only Way Is Up

Distance: 84km

Climbing: 2900m

Location: CPUT, Wellington

Stage 6: Into The Wild

Distance: 90km

Climbing: 2300m

Location: CPUT, Wellington

Stage 7: The Trail to Val de Vie

Distance: 68km

Climbing: 1850m

Location: CPUT, Wellington – Val de Vie Estate

Who To Watch:

The 600-rider strong field, although less than half the size of an ‘under normal conditions’ Absa Cape Epic field, is most definitely not short on talent and stories to write home about.

In the Elite Men’s and Women’s fields, there are World and National Champions; Continental Champions; UCI Marathon Series standing leaders, WorldTour racers, Olympians, and local stalwarts quivering with the excitement at the thought of taking the fight to the biggest names in the sport on their home turf.

Jennie STENERHAG (SWE) and Mariske STRAUSS (RSA)of Team Silverback – Fairtree during the Prologue of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa on the 17th March 2019. Photo by Greg Beadle/Cape Epic

Not to mention Absa Cape Epic newbies yet to stamp their names into the event’s history, or the all-South African women’s team who could, potentially, become the first South Africa women’s team to win the Absa Cape Epic since 2007.

Elite Men:

BULLS: Urs Huber (1-1) and Simon Schneller (1-2)

Trek-Pirelli: Samuele Porro (2-1) and Fabian Rabensteiner (2-2)

NinetyOne-songo-Specialized: Jordan Sarrou (3-1) and Matt Beers (3-2)

Canyon Northwave MTB: Andreas Seewald (4-1) and Martin Stošek (4-2)

BULLS 2: Martin Frey (5-1) and Simon Stiebjahn (5-2)

Elite Women:

Salusmed: Ariane Lüthi (50-1) and Robyn De Groot (50-2)

Faces CST: Candice Lill (51-1) and Mariske Strauss (51-2)

Fairtree: Jennie Stenerhag (52-1) and Amy McDougall (52-1)

NinetyOne-songo-Specialized: Sina Frei (54-1) and Laura Stigger (54-2)

Liv-Lapierre Racing: Sarah Hill (55-1) and Vera Looser (55-2)

Dimension Data Masters category:

BULLS Legends: Karl Platt (61-1) and Alban Lakata (61-2)

LGE Midas: Igna De Villiers (63-1) and Burger Bester (63-2)

Restonic: Craig Uria (64-1) and Andrew Duvenage (64-2)

Grand Masters category:

CST PostNL Bafang: Bart Brentjens (65-1) and Peter Vesel (65-2)

BiXS BikeHoliday: Barti Bucher (66-1) and Hans Juerg Gerber (66-2)

Absa Grand Masters: Mannie Heymans (70-1) and Carsten Bresser (70-2)

Virgin Active Mixed category:

Bauer-Werner Young Guns: Laura Stark (71-1) and Sebastian Stark (71-2)

Bicycle Garage Mixed: Benjamin Michael (72-1) and Janine Schneider (72-2)

Garmin: Ben Melt Swanepoel (73-1) and Yolandi Swanepoel (73-2)

Absa African Men’s Jersey:

PYGA Euro Steel: Gert Heyns (7-1) and Matthys Beukes (7-2)

DSV Pro Cycling: Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (12-1) and Matthew Keyser (12-2)

First Move / Fundsmith: Jaco Venter (14-1) and Alexandre Meyer (14-2)

Absa African Women’s Jersey:

Faces CST: Candice Lill (51-1) and Mariske Strauss (51-2)

Liv-Lapierre Racing: Sarah Hill (55-1) and Vera Looser (55-2)

Galileo Infiniti SPOT: Theresa Ralph (56-1) and Kim Le Court (56-2)

Exxaro Special Jersey:

Fairtree Cannondale 1: Lorenzo Leroux (75-1) and Luyanda Thobigunya (75-2)

Team FXTM-Velokhaya: Mthetheleli Boya (85-1) and Luthando Kaka (85-2)

Exxaro / RMB: Keneth Kabelo Tshukudu (78-1) and William Sello Majapholo (78-2)

How To Watch:

The 2021 Absa Cape Epic remains spectator-free to the public, regardless of the updated regulations recently released by the South African Government.

Fans can tune in to the daily Live Broadcast from 08:30 GMT+2 on the Absa Cape Epic Facebook Page, YouTube channel, and/or Absa Cape Epic website.

Daily highlights will be aired on Supersport at 21:00.

The lead bunch during stage 6 of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from the University of Stellenbosch Sports Fields in Stellenbosch, South Africa on the 23rd March 2019 Photo by Greg Beadle/Cape Epic