2016 absa cape epic ride guide

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The Absa Cape Epic Ride Guide is the official magazine for the Absa Cape Epic. It is packed with important race information as well as stories on the professional riders, what is new in 2016 and of course, the route.

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  • THE UNTAMED AFRICAN MTB RACE

    13-20 MARCH 2016

    EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE WORLDS PREMIER MTB STAGE RACE

    WHO TO WATCH WHERE TO WATCH ALL ABOUT THE ROUTE THE LAST LIONS

    8 DAYS | 1200 RIDERS | 652 km | 15 100 Climbing

  • Boost your birding skills and assist with vital conservation work. Dawn and evening drives, guided by experienced birding experts.

  • Foreword 4

    Route Intro 9

    Route Map 11

    The Route in Detail 12The stages, descriptions and predictions

    Grand Finale 32

    Who to Watch 35The top contenders

    Other Categories 44

    SA Challenge 48

    The Jerseys 53

    The Trophies 55

    Hospitality 58

    The Rules of the Ride 60What you should, and shouldnt, do on a bike

    Race Village 64

    #8DaysOfCourage 66

    The Hippies Made You Do It 70Mountain bike evolution

    The Race That Measures All 74

    Where To Watch 78

    The Susi and Sipho Show 84The legend and his protg

    Womens Race 87

    The Last Lions 89

    Conquering As One with the Absa Cape Epic 92

    The Time has Come 96Race founder Kevin Vermaak will ride the 2016 race

    Epic in Numbers 98

    The Wanderer and the Welshman 100

    Race Recap 102

    A Tale of Two Epics 108From perky pros to broken backmarkers

    Charities 110

    The Importance of Choosing the Right Partner 112Why it makes all the difference

    A Day in the Life of a Teams Support Crew 114

    A tribute to Brian Pickering 118

    Editor and Project Manager Samantha WrightMapping Craig BeechContributors Bryony McCormick, Chris Whitfield, David Moseley, Jonathan Ancer, Kati Csak, Neil Gardiner, Samantha Wright, Steve Smith, Tim WhitfieldAdvertising Shelley DieselArt Director Christo TouaProduction Managers Media24Photographic ContributorsGary Perkin, Nick Muzik, Dominic Barnardt, Emma Harrop, Ewald Sadie, Sam Clark, Kelvin Trautman, Sophie Smith, Damian Schumann, SportografMarketing and Communications Sarah Haigh

    Absa Cape Epic Tel 021 426 4373info@cape-epic.comwww.cape-epic.com

    RIDEGUIDE CONTENTS

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  • A message from the CEOThe 2016 Absa Cape Epic is the 13th edition of the event and marks some important progress for us. In recent years we have placed considerable emphasis on raising the profile of the Womens category, and have been delighted to see it bearing fruit.

    This year we will welcome another of the sports great athletes, Germanys Olympic gold medallist Sabine Spitz, to the field. She and partner Yana Belomoina of the Ukraine are sure to give defending champions Ariane Kleinhans (Switzerland) and Annika Langvad (Denmark) a great challenge.

    We have also introduced a special start batch for the elite women this year and expect closer and more intense racing.

    Another important initiative is getting more development riders into the race. We are a proudly South African organisation and have been pleased to see competition for the Exxaro special jersey intensify over the years. This year five-times Cape Epic winner Christoph Sauser will be riding with Kayamandis Sipho Madolo, who is a great example of the talent in our communities that is just waiting to be tapped. We will be announcing some new initiatives in this regard in the coming months.

    Christoph has retired as a professional but we will welcome back many of the worlds top mens competitors and some exciting new names such as former Marathon World Champion Periklis Ilias of Greece: the racing is sure to be exciting.

    We also welcome three exciting long-term members to our sponsor family: Dimension Data and USN have committed to a five-year relationship, and Land Rover to three years. Partnerships with our sponsors have been key to the successes and Id particularly like to thank Absa for its amazing support over 11 years: its contribution is immeasurable.

    Other relationships that play an important role in delivering the Untamed African Mountain Bike Race are those with land owners, towns, and municipalities which host our route and race villages: thanks very much to all of them. And, of course, to the staff, volunteers and crew who work tirelessly to put together a world-class event.

    Finally, Im sure that they will all join me in wishing good luck to the man whose vision and hard work has brought the event this far: Cape Epic founder Kevin Vermaak will be riding it for the first time this year and we will be backing him with every pedal stroke.

    Good luck to all riders!

    FOREWORD

    Lynn NaudCEOAbsa Cape Epic

    4

  • A message from Absa

    A message from the UCI

    There is something magic about mountain bike stage racing that sets it apart from other cycling events. The combination of long days in the saddle, tough and sometimes unpredictable terrain, and seemingly endless stretches of wilderness creates an atmosphere unique to this race format. And no matter how gruelling the day is, the next morning the athletes get up for more.

    The Absa Cape Epic is a reference point in the world of mountain bike stage racing. 2016 will be the 13th edition of this race, which brings professionals and amateurs together for an eight-day journey through South Africas Western Cape.

    It is an incredibly tough race, which requires the athletes to dig deep both physically and mentally. After a prologue and seven stages, there is no doubt that the teams of two know each other inside out: for up to ten hours a day they have ridden together, supported each other through the highs and lows, and shared moments of doubt and exhilaration.

    No matter how hard the racing is, the participants dont have to think about anything but riding. As the athletes move from point to point along the Western Cape, a huge team of organisers and volunteers ensure that, on crossing the finish line, they will have everything they need. I extend my thanks to all involved for enabling so many people to take part in this magnificent adventure.

    The Absa Cape Epic forms part of South Africas reputation as a top international mountain bike destination. Thanks to the commitment of Cycling South Africa and its President William Newman, South Africa has also hosted the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on four occasions, the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships in 2013 and the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships the year after.

    In 2016, the route of the Absa Cape Epic will be shorter than previous years, but with more singletrack and climbing than ever before. It promises to be another unforgettable event and I wish everyone taking part, men, women, amateurs and professionals, the very best of luck.

    Brian CooksonPresidentUCI

    David WingfieldChief Marketing OfficerBarclays Africa

    Welcome to the 2016 edition of the Absa Cape Epic. Having passed our decade-long association with what is proudly dubbed as the Untamed African MTB Race, as sponsors it has been an absolute privilege to have grown and evolved with this stage race over the years.

    With another eight days of courage, determination and perseverance beckoning, we are once again looking forward to collaborating with all key partners to enable those tackling the event to Conquer as One.

    We are extremely cognisant of the prolonged spells that riders spend away from their families in preparing for the Absa Cape Epic. As you take on the mountainous terrain, no matter how insurmountable the odds seem, draw on

    the best wishes, energy and pride of your loved ones to carry you over the line and help you achieve your