Monday, 19 March 2018
Stage 1 is never easy at the Absa Cape Epic, although this first day will welcome riders with a hard smile that will become a grimace of effort and endurance. A roll around district and farm roads to start is followed by some sharp kickers and the rock ’n roll descent on the rocky, rutted descent of Con’s Singletrack. Takkap Climb comes into play just before halfway and will be the biggest challenge of the day, brutally steep and rocky. Hey, this is Robertson. Everything is rocky in Robertson. The “Hidden Cliff” of Skuilkraans is part of a 14km uphill slog before some small reprieve and a few testing climbs through the Elandskloof Reserve.
Riders will be watching each other carefully on this first day around Robertson, which begins with some leg-stretching on district roads before testing technical skills on the rugged descent of Con’s Singletrack and strength on the climb of Takkap. It is likely the first attacks will come here, with Annika Langvad and Kate Courtney (Investec Songo Specialized 2) perhaps putting in an e ort to see who is up for the fight. South Africa’s Robyn de Groot and her German partner Sabine Spitz (Ascendis Health) may just beat them to the punch and put in an attack of their own, setting themselves up for the long, gruelling 14km climb that follows and includes the Skuilkrans before the rushinto Robertson.
The men will be wary of each other on this first day, which could play into the hands of one of the outsiders. Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini of Cannondale Factory Racing held off Jaroslav Kulhavy and Christoph Sauser for their second win of the 2017 race to give them an unlikely hat-trick of wins if you include the 2016 Grand Finale victory. Nicola Rohrbach and Daniel Geismayr (Centurion Vaude) will be in the mix if the bunch splits up on the way to the finish in Robertson.
These are most picked teams per category for the stage. Click on the team name to show detail.
Keep up to date with all the latest Absa Cape Epic news on Bike Hub.