Not since 2013 has Stage 1 of the Absa Cape Epic dipped below the 100-kilometre mark. It is definitely no play-day though. Hard work lies ahead to harvest the rewards of the exceptional Eselfontein trails. After a relatively easy start to the stage, the first singletrack climb is fortuitously wider than most, actually allowing for overtaking opportunities. Two more singletrack climbs follow, including the ascent of the Dead Man Walking climb to the race’s first Dimension Data Hotspot. The singletrack from the summit is the day’s Land Rover Technical Terrain, Pipeline. A final loop, from the central water complex on the Eselfontein farm, takes in more scintillating singletracks including some of the oldest purpose-built mountain biking trails in the country.
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