“This is a big decision for us and we have never done it before in 14 years of staging the race, but the safety of our riders is paramount,” said Absa Cape Epic CEO Lynn Naudé.

An exhausted rider after missing the cut off during stage 1 of the 2017 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race held from Hermanus High School in Hermanus, South Africa on the 20th March 2017. Photo by Shaun Roy/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS

The first two days of the race – a Prologue near Durbanville and Stage 1 in and around Hermanus – have been marked by temperatures peaking at 40ºC and extremely dry conditions. Several riders have suffered from heat-related ailments.

It is expected to be extremely hot again on Tuesday with increased humidity.

The 62km will include about 1 500m of vertical gain, down from 2 350m on the original route. The finish will take place at Caledon Botanical Gardens.

“We made the call after extensive discussions with the medical team and key stakeholders,” said Naudé. “We considered various options but decided this was the fairest and safest option.”

Stage 3 will start as scheduled in Greyton on Wednesday and the race organisers were early today busy organising shuttles to get bikes and riders from Caledon to Greyton.

“We’ve been up through the night making plans to organise the finishline logistics and have this run as smoothly as possible, but we ask all stakeholders to be patient,” said Naudé. “Barring any unforeseen developments the rest of the race will be held as scheduled.”
Tuesday’s start will take place at the times originally scheduled.The maximum stage time will be adjusted and announced before the start.