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Photo by Gary Perkin/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

The Absa Cape Epic Grand Finale is, though, one of the most prestigious stage wins in mountain biking and the pace is bound to be fierce. Team Bulls will be protecting their lead, so don’t expect too many fireworks from them. Centurion Vaude by Meerendal, Dolomiti Superbike and Trek Selle Marco all have stage wins and wouldn’t mind bagging a Grand Finale, but expect Canondale Factory Racing’s Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini to make an attempt to end the week with a stage win in the bag. The closing kilometres should suit their skills.

In the women’s race, Sabine Spitz and Yana Belomoina (Sport for Good) have clearly found their legs and would like to make it three in a row, but Ariane Kleinhans and Annika Langvad (Spur-Specialized) will want to end their title defence on a high.

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As for the route, the numbers speak for themselves: not too much climbing for the weary. There is some early ascending in the first 25km as the route hugs the Simonsberg Mountain before some district roads take riders on a tour of the local farms and some vineyards. Then it’s on to the Tygerberg network’s great Hoogekraal trail for a while and on to Meerendal. As they hear the strains of the PA from the Grand Finale finish riders will be introduced to its fun bermed sections on the way down to the well-deserved status of Absa Cape Epic finisher.