The wildest Cape Epic: record of ascent with 1,650 meters

The South African race will have a total of 8 stages and 624 kilometers. The 'Ascent of the King' will be one of the key points. Debuta Aleix Espargaró, MotoGP rider.

La Absa Cape Epic 2019 starts this Sunday in what will undoubtedly be its most spectacular and wild edition. From the 17th, with the prologue stage, until March 24, the participants of one of the toughest and most prestigious MTB tests on the planet will have to surpass figures never before seen in the South African test. And it is that the current edition of the race will have its record of historical ascent: a total of 16.650 meters during the course of the eight contested stages and the 624 kilometers traveled. Almost nothing.

The Cape Epic 2019 will go from less to more, starting with a prologue eta Cape Town 21 kilometers away and 600 meters of positive elevation gain. Stage 1 will be the longest, with a total of 111 kilometers (2,700m of elevation gain), where the first important selection among the favorites is expected. Halfway through the week, in stage 4, the organization of the race has decided to incorporate a second day of the time trial: 40 kilometers with start and finish in Oak Valley Estate. The hardness will continue to be served in recent days, but especially at the end of said time trial. The participants must overcome the jornada with more unevenness (2,850 meters) next to the feared 'Ascent of the King', a rise of terrible hardness which is followed by a descent of the most technical and with a lot of difference.

Favorites and Spaniards

Y As for the big stars of the event, who are the favorite greats for this Cape Epic 2019? It should be noted that the winning couple of last year, Jaroslav Kulhavý and Howard Grotts, will not be able to revalidate the title due to the loss of Grotts, so it will be necessary to see how the New Zealander Sam Gaze fits into the 'Investec Songo Specialized 1'.

But without a doubt, one of the duos that generates more expectation is formed by Nino Schurter and Andri Frischknecht ( SCOTT-SRAM) . Schurter is the current XCO World Champion and XCM Frischknecht. A pair of champions that will threaten, not only Grotts and Gaze, but also the ten participating runners who already know what it is to win a Cape Epic.

Entre Spanish couples with more options include those formed by Francesc Guerra and Enrique Morcillo with number 11 (BUFF Scott MTB), Aleix Espargaró and Ibón Zugasti with number 30 (Orbea Factory Team) and Roberto Bou and Alberto Losada with number 43 (Tbelles-Pro Tour BCN). Other Spanish runners will also be present, such as Sergio Mantecón (will pair with the Czech Ondřej Cink) and David Valero (together with the Argentinian Catriel Soto). Another stellar pair will be formed by Purito Rodríguez and Antonio Hermida. España will be the second country with the most representation (135) after South Africa.

From the bikes to the bicycle

Special mention for one of the Spanish debutants in this event: Aleix Espargaró. The MotoGP rider faces his first challenge in South Africa next to the veteran Ibon Zugasti, who already knows what it is to finish this test and sign a more than 22nd place with Alberto Losada in 2018.

. Last February, the 29-year-old pilot was enthusiastic about this challenge in statements granted to the organization of the race: "In Spain we say that the Absa Cape Epic is like the Tour de France in mountain biking, so it is the dream of all cyclists, this Cape Epic of 2019 will be the first, so I can not compare it with none of the above, but as it is possibly the most difficult of all, it will be even more epic for me. "

Entre 1111 111 steep mountain roads, wind-blown gravel roads and other areas with lots of sand, these intrepid adventurers will try to reach 'Val de Vie Estate' next March 24 and continue fulfilling dreams.

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