Next year’s Cape Epic, which takes place from March 15 to 22, will feature a route 17km longer than in 2019 but with slightly less vertical ascent.
Details of the arduous eight-day event through the Western Cape mountains were disclosed at a route-reveal function in Cape Town this evening.
Riders face a daunting 647km with 15 550m of climbing, compared to last year’s 630km with 16 650m of ascent.
The eight-day race starts with a 20km prologue in the Table Mountain National Park. The mountain provides a fast and technical route, including steep up and downhill gradients.
Riders will then transfer to Ceres for the 98km first stage, which dips under 100km for the first time since 2013. At Eselfontein they will ride some of the oldest purpose-built mountain biking trails in the country with the pipeline descent being a new addition.
The 94km queen stage, which features 2 050m of ascent, will take riders to Tulbagh via the tough Witzenberg Valley. They will encounter sheets of sandstone as well as the Skurfberg singletrack climb.
The 88km third stage is an out-and-back route through two converging mountain ranges. With 2 100m of ascent, this stage is not short on climbing.
The first hotspot sprint makes its appearance during this stage, while Assegaaibos will provide a testing technical section.
Mountain bikers will then make their way to Wellington on the 101km fourth stage as they explore one of the most untamed valleys in the province. This will be their home for the next few days.
The intense 85km fifth stage features challenging climbs totalling 2 900m of ascent followed by white-knuckle singletrack descents.
The 95km penultimate stage will see riders travel through a private nature reserve – and tackle another 2 300m of ascent.
The 66km final stage will finish at Val de Vie and the trails to the estate will provide an appropriately rugged end to next year’s Epic.
Watch a video of the route reveal: