Based in the Western Cape, South Africa, the event will see riders tackle 525km and 6,475m of climbing across three days, followed by seeded entry to the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, the world’s biggest cycle race. As with The Alpine Challenge in its first year, 2012’s Cape Rouleur will be a limited entry test event, with former Tour de France winner Stephen Roche, top commentator Phil Liggett and Cape Epic winner Karl Platt all taking their place on the start line. Next year will see the tour open up to many more, with prices to be announced later in the year.
Starting and finishing each leg in Franschhoek, one of South Africa’s oldest towns, riders will head past landmarks including Paarl Mountain, the Perdeberg National Reserve and Betty's Bay. The idea of all HotChillee events is to bring, as close as possible, the ‘Tour de France experience’ to amateur riders, and with motorbike outriders, support vehicles and constant access to masseurs and mechanics, the Cape Rouleur is no different. With Cape Argus entry, plus a relaxed 96km escorted ride into Cape Town following the tour, entrants can look forward to a full week of cycling at the tail end of South Africa’s summer.
Cyclists on the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour at the start of the climb up Chapman's Peak. Noordhoek's Long Beach is in the distance
“The London-Paris and The Alpine Challenge are both known as the closest an amateur can get to the Tour de France experience,” said HotChillee founder Sven Thiele. “Our events allow enthusiasts to rub shoulders with cycling legends and professionals, in a safe and fun environment. It is HotChillee's objective to create the same international format in South Africa, using the same formula that appeals to our HotChillee International riders, creating an unforgettable cycling experience.”
Sunday 4 March: Sign On for The Cape Rouleur, Franschhoek
Stage 1, Monday 5 March: (176 km, 1448m ascent, max gradient 7.9 percent): Stay in Franschhoek. This stage sees riders pass through the winelands, underneath the Taal Monument in Paarl, past the Fairview and many other wineries. It then passes Paarl Mountain to the west, heading North and over Botma's Kloof, returning via the Perdeberg National Reserve.
Stage 2, Tuesday 6 March: (144 km, 2513m ascent, max gradient 10.4 percent): Stay in Franschhoek. This is the biggest day of climbing, heading east over Franschhoek pass, then South to Theewaterskloof dam. The route then heads south over Vilijoen's pass to Elgin and over the Houhoek pass returning to Villersdrop, the Theewaterskloof dam and back over the Franschhoek pass to the home straight.
Stage 3, Wednesday 7 March: (205 km, 2504m ascent, max gradient 8.8 percent): Stay in Franschhoek. This is the longest day, from Franschhoek over Helshoogte (“Hellish Hill”) descending into the university town of Stellenbosch and heading south towards Gordon's Bay. From here, the riders take one of the most scenic coastal roads in the world, passing Betty's Bay and the penguins. It's almost certain riders will see a troop of baboons somewhere en-route. The ride then turns inland at Kleinmond, over the Houhoek pass from the other direction returning again via Theewaterskloof dam and back over the Franschhoek pass home. The day is followed by prizes and a VIP dinner with dignitaries and press people.
Thursday 8 March: Escorted social ride into Cape Town City
Sunday 11 March: Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour