Riders from across the world saddle up for the 2016 Absa Cape Epic race

The 2016 Absa Cape Epic, the world's premier mountain bike race, is set to take place from 13 to 20 March.

Absa Cape Epic CEO Lynn Naude said the route is 652 kilometres long and involves a climb of 14 500 metres over the eight day period.

It's a tough 8 days that lies ahead for the riders, kicking off on Sunday.

Lynn Naude, CEO of Absa Cape Epic

The event has drawn riders from over 55 countries and the 1 200 participants will race in 600 two-person teams.

The event will start with the fun-filled spectator friendly prologue at Meerendal Wine Estate this Sunday.

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