The world renowned Absa Cape Epic is coming to Hermanus again in March 2019. Breaking news revealed at this week’s route launch named Hermanus again as the stage location for the first 2 days of this 16th mountain bike race. A race that will last 8 days, covering 624 kilometres with a climb of 16650 meters – an elevation comparable to riding up 2 Table Mountains per day for a week. This is the Absa Cape Epic. Tough enough to appeal to a number of Hermanus mountain bikers including Claude Tyers and Jacqui Jackson. This will not be Claude’s first encounter with the Epic. In 2017 Claude and his teammate Mathew Browne were the first two locals to cross the line on Day 1. Claude and other riders who participated in the 2017 Cape Epic will remember Hermanus as the challenge within the challenge when humidity and heat on the first day caused many cyclists to ditch their hope of finishing the race. This resulted in a decision never taken before in the history of the race to shorten the scheduled distance of the next day with 40 kilometres.
Stage 1 of the 2019 race is named “Heaven and Back to Earth” and has the Cape Epic returning to a favourite Hemel en Aarde. Know for South Africa’s premium wines, this region will be happy to welcome premium mountain bikers. Rotary Drive, the La Vierge stairs and the Paddocks set the tone for a day of relentless ascents before the day’s first spectator point at Creation Wines. A spectator point that won the prize for the best viewing experience in 2017. Then it is onwards and upwards along the slopes of Babylonstoring, descending into the Tesselaarsdal.
Stage 2 “Enter Sandman” starts with an ascent of Rotary Drive before leaving Hemel en Aarde to the west – into the sandman’s playground. Braam Gericke, Wildekrans winemaker and Epic mountain biker, established a brand new single-track that cuts into the Hottentots Holland Mountains with a 6 kilometre long climb gaining over 500 meters in elevation. This stretch has been named the Wildekrans Tokoloshe and here the cyclists will leave the Overstrand. We hope that the many spectators will once again remain behind to enjoy leisure time in Hermanus.
The Absa Cape Epic is estimated to add R300m to the economy of the Western Cape. R75m of which can be attributed to the Overstrand. There has already been benefits with the organisers bringing small groups of elite cyclists to experience the route. It is fortunate that some of these cyclists are also wine enthusiasts and local wines have been put to the test in equal measures as the mountain bike routes adding to an experience that will be viewed in 112 countries when the event is happening. Video footage of the 2019 shows our region in the best possible way and provides priceless marketing and promotion material for the Cape Whale Coast. We look forward to another successful hosting of the 2019 Absa Cape Epic and as in the past foresee this event to benefit all communities and unite us in appreciating world class adventure sports.