The 2024 Absa Cape Epic Route Revealed


The 20th edition of the Absa Cape Epic in 2024 reveals a route that includes 613 kilometres of racing and over 16 000 metres of climbing from the Prologue in Lourensford to Tulbagh, followed by Wellington and on to the Grand Finale in Stellenbosch.

Prologue: Sunday, 17 March 2024

Lourensford Wine Estate, Somerset West

Distance: 26km

Climbing: 1050m

Difficulty: 2.5 Stars

Opportunities await as the journey into the untamed begins on the manicured trails of Lourensford Wine Estate. In the shadow of the Helderberg Mountains it is renowned as one of the country’s oldest and most celebrated wine farms.  Teams transfer north to Tulbagh for the first marathon stages. Stage 1 and 2 both start and finish at the spectacular Saronsberg Wine Estate, famed for its wines, blueberries and art.

Stage 1: Monday, 18 March 2024

Saronsberg, Tulbagh

Distance: 90km

Climbing: 2450m

Difficulty: 4.5  Stars

Bravery will be required on Stage 1. Tulbagh, once a frontier town, is still an untamed mountain biking destination.

Four major climbs punctuate the day, including the infamous Fanti’s Pass. It’s not just all challenges and climbing though. Handbuilt singletracks, never before ridden in a race will offer a welcome reward for the uphill toils. Exceedingly tough on the way up. Scintillating on the way down. Stage 1 will be beautiful throughout.

Stage 2: Tuesday, 19 March 2024

Saronsberg, Tulbagh

Distance: 93km

Climbing 2200m

Difficulty: 4 Stars

Withstanding the untamed and unrelenting challenges presented by the Witzenberg Valley requires endurance and skill. Stage 2 begins with an ascent from Absa Cape Epics of yore, climbing into the Witzenberg Valley. Famed for its relentlessly technical trails the valley itself might not feature an imposing amount of climbing, but do not be fooled by the profile. The rocky trails deny momentum and reintroduce the concept of inertia to all but the most skilful. The drop back to the Tulbagh Valley is no free ride. Rocky in places, line choice will be vital. Stage 2 will require mental as well as physical fortitude.

Stage 3: Wednesday, 20 March 2024

Tulbagh to Wellington

Distance: 94km

Climbing: 2100m

Difficulty: 3.5 Stars

On Wednesday morning the race departs the Tulbagh Valley for Cape Peninsula of Technology’s Wellington Campus, in the only transition stage of the 20th edition. Blending buttery smooth tarmac with the rugged remoteness Stage 3 is a mix of natural and manmade.  A flat run 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. Teams will experience some classic Cape singletrack cut through pristine fynbos before Bainskloof pass and an unexpected sting in the tail, do not expect a direct race home from the summit.

Stage 4: Thursday, 21 March 2024

Cape Peninsula of Technology, Wellington

Distance: 88km

Climbing: 3000m

Difficulty: 5 Stars

The Queen Stage of the 2024 Absa Cape Epic, it will demand every team rises to the challenge – the gauntlet laid down by the untamed. Featuring more meters of climbing than any stage in recent years, Stage 4 is defined by ascents. They begin relatively steadily, then become longer and steeper as the day progresses until it reaches into the clouds with South Africa’s most awe-inspiring Cliff Hanger trail. The Toyota Tough section of the day. Built on Canetsfontein and part of the Imbuko Big Five Challenge, clinging to the very highest slopes of the Hawequas Mountains it takes a head of heights and technical skills to conquer.

Stage 5: Friday, 22 March 2024

Cape Peninsula of Technology, Wellington

Distance: 70km

Climbing: 1750m

Difficulty: 3 Stars

A thrilling loop through the Wild Boar Trails. Home to technical climbs, traverses and descents it is a rare day of flat out fun, but still with a challenge or two. 70 kilometres and 1750 meters of climbing. A mix of district road and dual tracks starts the day; but once on the trails, they flow back-to-back along the slopes of the Limietberg and into the Doolhof Valley. As fatigue begins to set in, teamwork will be vital. If one is feeling good while the other suffers the gap between teammates will amplify. Wild and rocky at times, always untamed, it should be a faster day, ahead of the bus journey to Stellenbosch for the final two stages of the race.

Stage 6: Saturday, 23 March 2024

University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch

Distance: 87km

Climbing: 2300m

Difficulty: 4.5 Stars

Teams should be warned, they will need to be steadfast in their resolve if they are to conquer the untamed in Stellenbosch. 87 kilometres, 2 300 meters of climbing. The route presents climbs aplenty across some of South Africa’s most famous wine farms. It does however also boast singletracks, both uphill and down. The trails twist and turn with berms and rollers interspersed among small drops and rises. When raising your eyes from the terrain ahead you’ll see across the winelands to Table Mountain in the distance, but do not raise your gaze for too long.

Stage 7: The Grand Finale – Sunday, 24 March 2024

University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch

Distance: 65km

Climbing: 2000m

Difficulty: 4 Stars

The conquest of the untamed is within reach but the final stage is no free ride. Of the kilometres which remain the majority are in the world-renowned Jonkershoek Valley. The course zig-zags uphill and down, climbing one side of the valley three times and descending it in turn too. Sweeping and fast, tight and technical. Smooth in places. Rocky in others. A high traverse above familiar terrain leads to the final hurdle of the 2024 race and then you cross that finish line, you know you gave it all, claiming your spot in the book of legend.


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