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REGISTRATION DAY Saturday 26th March 2011





PROLOGUE  Sunday 27th March 2011

Prologue: Cape Town - Cape Town
Start Venue:   Chrysalis Academy
Finish Venue:   Chrysalis Academy
Date:   Sunday 27 March 2011
Distance:   27km
Climbing:   750m
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The Tokai forest, part of Table Mountain National Park hosts the prologue of the 2011 Absa Cape Epic. Regarded as the Eden of mountain biking in Cape Town, this revered network of trails represents all of what makes this sport so great, with tough climbs, fast descents and flowing singletrack forming the 27km route. This showcase event is a race against the clock to decide the seeding in the field and which teams will wear the coveted zebra-striped leaders jerseys at the start of stage 1 on Monday morning in Tulbagh.



STAGE 1   Monday 28th March 2011

Stage 1: Saronsberg in Tulbagh - Saronsberg in Tulbagh
Start Venue:   Saronsberg Wine Estate
Finish Venue:   Saronsberg Wine Estate
Date:   Monday 28 March 2011
Distance:   89km
Climbing:   2050m

Stage 1's distance is a shade under 90km, which may sound short but is not to be underestimated! The flat roads out of town leave few clues as to what is to come. Very soon the short(ish) but incredibly steep, rough and loose climbs appear, and on the treacherous descents, volleyball-sized rocks and sand patches pock the little-used dual tracks. While the pros make short work of it, the first 50km may take backmarkers over 5 hours. The stage's last climb on some rough roads brings riders to the top of one of most precariously difficult downhills they've seen at the Absa Cape Epic. With large rocks, deep ruts and a sheer drop on the left, be sure to take it slow.










STAGE 2   Tuesday 29th March 2011

Stage 2: Saronsberg in Tulbagh - Saronsberg in Tulbagh
Start Venue:   Saronsberg Wine Estate
Finish Venue:   Saronsberg Wine Estate
Date:   Tuesday 29 March 2011
Distance:   104km
Climbing:   2300m
A 12km steady upward drag takes riders to a 6km climb on an ancient Voortrekker wagon trail, specially opened for the race. At the top, the 18km mark, riders will have already ascended almost 1000m. With the stage's major obstacle out of the way, the valley opens up ahead, with the route looping clockwise, following the buffer zone between orchards and mountainside. A look at the profile shows that the tracks are far from flat and a short section of singletrack compensates the labours of the first 50km. If it's a hot day in the valley during race week, riders will be tempted to take a dip in one of the several dams dotted along the route as they begin to head home. After a 1.5km rise to the highpoint of the day's outing comes the reward of the hard work invested in the first climb. If it's a clear day, the unmistakable silhouette of Table Mountain will be visible from the crest. Riders then descend the wagon trail towards town for a good night's rest.




STAGE 3   Wednesday 30th March 2011

Stage 3: Saronsberg in Tulbagh - Worcester
Start Venue:   Saronsberg Wine Estate
Finish Venue:   Worcester Gymnasium
Date:   Wednesday 30 March 2011
Distance:   125km
Climbing:   1900m
With the fast roads out of town, riders will cover 13 km before the first climb. It's steep at times and very loose, requiring hard bursts of effort to gain momentum over the rockiest parts. If there was ever a theme of race week, it's "from effort comes reward". After the 4km climb, riders arrive at a plateau with a beautiful valley nestled between spectacular mountains that resemble the pictures found on the covers of fantasy novels. There will be little time to look around during the race though as the deeply rutted descent tests the rider and equipment alike. After smooth farm roads and more rocky tracks, the tyres will be put to the test, with devil thorns lying in wait. A long drag upwards on a rough path leads to a remote hut at the foot of the cliff face of the bare rock of the mountainside. This area is a geologist's paradise. After the final waterpoint, Absa Cape Epic veterans will have deja vu, with a similar run into the race village through some winding singletrack.













STAGE 4   Thursday 31st March 2011

Stage 4: Worcester - Worcester
Start Venue:   Worcester Gymnasium
Finish Venue:   Worcester Gymnasium
Date:   Thursday 31 March 2011
Distance:   32km
Climbing:   800m
It's a first for the Absa Cape Epic, two time trials in the 2011 race. This is a 32km route through the foothills of Brandwacht. Like in 2010, riders traverse the western side of Worcester in this semi-desert environment. Added to last year's route is an extra 5km loop along dual tracks past the local golf course. The route data reads 860m of climbing which may not seem like a lot, but over such a short distance, it still requires a hard effort. As usual, the top teams leave at 1 minute intervals, racing only against the clock, some looking for a stage win and others to consolidate. Hold back on this stage and save yourself for the next half of the Epic saga. With what's waiting for them in the coming few days, you'll be glad you did.

















STAGE 5   Friday 1st April 2011

Stage 5: Worcester - Oak Valley in the Elgin Valley
Start Venue:   Worcester Gymnasium
Finish Venue:   Oak Valley Wine Estate
Date:   Friday 1 April 2011
Distance:   143km
Climbing:   2350m
It's a real classic epic day out, the longest stage in years. With fast open roads, marked by 3 obstacles along the way, riders are advised to save their strength and cooperate with other teams to form larger groups, to take turns at the front to lighten the load. The first climb of the day will be a shock to the system, not only from the gradient but also the track's surface. In parts, the climb is rideable, barely, and only the fittest and best bike handlers are likely to make it up without dabbing a foot. As with everything, what goes up must come down, and those with full suspension bikes will be grateful for their weapon of choice. More open roads will help get some kilometers under the belt before the radio mast comes into view. Down the other side of this deceptive climb is a fast chute into farmlands and waiting for them is a set of rolling hills that?ll deaden the legs of even the most hardened campaigner. At the 100km mark, riders reach the foot of the exquisite Groenlandberg, the grand old legend inviting us back in 2011 thanks to Cape Nature Conservation. The 15% gradient on the concrete path should be paced conservatively, with the remainder of the climb taking most riders well over an hour to complete. The north-facing slope will make for a challenging ascent on a hot afternoon but the rocky downhill section leads to the famed Oak Valley singletrack to make it all worth it.















STAGE 6   Saturday 2nd April 2011

Stage 6: Oak Valley in the Elgin Valley - Oak Valley in the Elgin Valley
Start Venue:   Oak Valley Wine Estate
Finish Venue:   Oak Valley Wine Estate
Date:   Saturday 2 April 2011
Distance:   128km
Climbing:   2700m
In the penultimate stage competitors will be wary, the route profile and the total ascent tells how they?ll be tested right to the end of the week on this brutal Oak Valley loop. Again we head over Groendlandberg, for the second time in two days, this time following the 2010 route in reverse. After crossing the R43 comes a tough sandy climb, nicknamed "The Beeatch". A short section on Highlands Road will be a relief before more loose and partially sandy climbing - which will be rewarded with a dramatic view over the Indian Ocean, the Botriver mouth and Kleinmond. One last climb leads us through another Cape Nature area featuring some rare fynbos. Shortly after riders get to enjoy the flowing single tracks of Lebanon, before they dip under the N2 for more fun single track through Thandi and back home to Oak Valley - a great way to finish a strenuous day in the saddle.















STAGE 7   Sunday 3rd April 2011

Stage 7: Oak Valley in the Elgin Valley - Lourensford Wine Estate
Start Venue:   Oak Valley Wine Estate
Finish Venue:   Lourensford Wine Estate
Date:   Sunday 3 April 2011
Distance:   59km
Climbing:   1700m
It's the same every year, the last day of the Absa Cape Epic might be short but it is never easy. Old Viljoens Pass and Nuweberg remind riders that it?s not over yet. Right now, trailbuilders are cutting new routes and Dr Evil has warned riders of a final few surprises before a traditional finish at Lourensford. Here they will be reunited with their loved ones, a life's task accomplished and an experience they'll never forget.