Preview: Absa Cape Epic 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010 8.00am
World's best sign up for testing stage race
Stefan Sahm, who won last year's Cape Epic with racing partner Karl Platt, will be returning to defend his title Gary Perkin/Sportzpics
The 2010 Absa Cape Epic mountain bike stage race will put riders to the test over a 722km route that takes in some of South Africa's most beautiful landscapes.
The race, now in its seventh year, starts at 9am tomorrow (21 March) at Diemersfontein in the heart of the wine country and finishes eight days later at Lourensford in Somerset West. Day five will be a 27km time trial stage in Worcester.
Some 1,200 riders from more than 50 countries will take part, racing in pairs. They can expect to be confronted with steep climbs, narrow singletrack, sharp rocks and tight turns. Total climbing will exceed 14,635 vertical metres – the equivalent of riding twice up Mount Everest.
Entrants include some of the best cross-country and marathon riders in the world, such as reigning world cross-country champion Nino Schurter (SUI), 2008 world champ Christoph Sauser (SUI) and Olympic gold medallist Bart Brentjens (NED).
Other participants include Olympic silver medallist José Hermida (ESP), three-time Cape Epic winner Karl Platt (GER), two-time Cape Epic winner Stefan Sahm (GER) and under-23 world champ Burry Stander (RSA).
The race is a massive logistics project. Organisers pitch more than 1,400 tents each day and transport 280 tonnes of equipment from stage town to stage town. For more information, visit www.cape-epic.com.