PROLOGUE – 7.6km
A short, sharp, lung busting effort starting on Robertsvlei Road, roughly 1km from the race village, to the Berg River Dam and back to seed riders for the stages ahead. Whether you’re a race snake, or just racing your mates, this time trial counts towards your overall General Classification (GC) placing. Be sure to keep some gas in the tank for the climb on the way back to the finish!
STAGE 1 – 150km – 1,244m
The Leg Loosener
Stage 1 takes the peloton out to the rolling farmlands of the Swartland region, after an optional short stop at the Drakenstein prison, site of Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990. Back on the bike, it’s a gentle spin on comfy roads until kilometre 39 – the Green Sprint section for the race snakes. A 1km uphill drag just enough to hurt the legs and get the heart pumping. Enjoy the short respite to kilometre 74 – before the racing starts in earnest with the first Yellow GC section of the 2018 Cape Rouleur. Fourteen kilometres of undulating racing lie in wait, followed shortly by a welcoming lunch stop at the picturesque Domain Brahms Wine Estate. With full bellies and refreshed legs, the peloton heads back towards the historic town of Stellenbosch, where the climbers get the chance to show off in the Red Climb section, a 5km grind over Helshoogte pass. From there on it’s a false flat cruise back to Franschhoek.
STAGE 2 – 131km – 1,934m
The Climber’s Delight: 4 Passes
At 131km, Stage 2 is the shortest of the 2018 Cape Rouleur but by no means the easiest. The route takes the peloton en-masse back to Stellenbosch and over the Helshoogte pass to a welcome break of coffee and muffins at Mooiberg Farm Stall. Departing the farm stall in speed group order the real fun starts as Sir Lowry’s Pass is tackled, a shallow drag up from kilometre 55 giving way to a steeper section over the last 5km to the peak at kilometre 60. From here riders can catch their breath as the rolling terrain continues to lunch at the Peregrine Farm Stall. Straight after lunch the road heads skywards once again, and the racing sections come thick and fast; first the 5km Red Climb on Viljoen’s Pass, then some 11km later the pace ratchets up for the Green Sprint. There is little chance to waste thereafter as the Theewaterskloof Dam appears with the Yellow GC section coming within 1km of the left hand turn at kilometre 106. An 8km section, this slow grind to the base of the Franschhoek Pass will test even the strongest riders with 3 climbs already in their legs. And to add insult to injury, even with all the racing done, there is still one final challenge of Stage 2, the 8km climb up Franschhoek Pass. After enjoying the view from the top, the day’s work almost done, it’s a quick roll down to Franschhoek and recovery time.
STAGE 3 – 162km – 2,065m
The Scenic One
Stage 3 takes us through some of the most scenic and iconic routes in the Western Cape as we leave our base in Franschhoek for the last time and journey to the grand finale in Somerset West. Right from the start it’s up and over Franschhoek Pass as a rude early leg-tester. Once settled on the other side, a flat and fast section via Villiersdorp takes a southerly aspect into the final Yellow GC section commencing just after the 42km mark. Although losing elevation over the 20km rolling terrain, the road ahead offers a few nasty kickers to really test the merit of the GC contenders. Momentum should carry riders the few kilometres thereafter into lunch at Gabrielskloof. With almost 100km of Stage 3 after lunch, however, there is no room for complacency. Turning south-west the Ocean calls, but beforehand 40km of rolling roads beckon and the last Green Sprint at 101km. The frenetic nature of this section quickly gives way to the tranquil view of the Indian Ocean as we make the turn along Clarence Drive. Breath-taking scenery will provide sufficient distraction as the kilometres whizz by. Back to reality at 140km with the day nearing its conclusion, there is nevertheless racing still to be done as the mountain goats seize their last chance for glory and bragging rights. A short but sharp, lung-busting climb to the top of the Steenbras Dam awaits the racing groups. Returning by the same route back to the coast, the remaining 16km of Stage 3 rolls gently onwards to the finish and post-race festivities. The stunning Lord Charles Hotel awaits, where the HotChillee crew will welcome riders with finishers medals.
FESTIVAL RIDE– 88km – 784m
The Social Day
A slightly more relaxed ride, we depart Somerset West and head towards Cape Town. Our first stop is within the township of Khayelitsha where local traffic police will escort us to the inspirational Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy where we will stop for coffee. We return to the coast along Baden Powell Drive before turning north via Constantia Nek and Hout Bay. A predominantly flat route until this point gives way to a couple of testing climbs such as the famous ‘Cape Town Cycle Tour’ Suikerbossie climb but we will be rewarded by spectacular views across the Indian Ocean to our left and Table Mountain National Park to our right. Regrouping to form one large “Festive” peleton we then ride the final 17 kilometres along the route used by the Cape Town Cycle Tour. The Cape Town motor cycle police will guide us along the final stretch to the finish at Waterfront, where celebratory drinks and lunch will be served.