The Absa Cape Epic is an annual mountain bike stage race held in the Western Cape, South Africa. It has been accredited as hors categorie (beyond categorisation) by the Union Cycliste Internationale. First staged in 2004, the race typically covers more than 700 kilometres (435 miles), and lasts eight days – a prologue and seven stages. The Absa Cape Epic attracts elite professional mountain bikers from around the world, who compete in teams of two. To qualify for a finish, teams have to stay together for the duration of the race. The race is also open to amateurs, who enter a lottery in order to gain a slot. A total of 600 teams take part. The times taken to finish each stage are aggregated to determine the overall winning team in each category at the end of the race. The course changes every year, but the race has always taken place in the Western Cape. The Absa Cape Epic was described by Bart Brentjens, 1996 Olympic gold medallist in mountain biking and a former Absa Cape Epic winner, as the “Tour de France of mountain biking”.
The 2017 route will take riders through 691 km of Western Cape countryside and up a lot of hills: the accumulated vertical gain over the eight days will be 15 400m.
Photographer: Sandro Tasso Wide Angle photo Studio Franschhoek
Olympus Ambassador South Africa
Camera: Olympus OM-D EM-1 mark II lens: Zuiko 300mm f4 Pro