Important Rule Changes for 2007
There are several very important changes in the rules that will be applied at the 2007 event. The Absa Cape Epic is the only 2-person team stage race on the UCI mountain bike calendar and has a unique set of race rules. The latest release of the rules incorporates feedback from the UCI and South African Commissaires at the 2006 race and measures to address some critical safety concerns of the organisers.
New Classification for Masters Category (announced in June 2006)
The youngest rider must be 40 years or older on the day of the start of the race to be classified as a Masters team (i.e. both riders must be 40 years or older).
Towing is Illegal
The use of towropes or bungee cords to tow your team partner will not be allowed and will result in disqualification. Every year numerous accidents have been reported that are related to riders towing each other and in order to prevent these accidents and a potential more serious incident, this practice is now banned. Holding on to your team partnerâ€™s jersey pocket or hydration pack is legal and should be the preferred method to receive assistance from your team partner. The banning of towing will also mean that the results in the Mixed category are more a measure of the performance of the weaker partner in the team rather than the stronger.
Neutral Technical Support Zones en Route
Technical support is allowed at designated technical support zones at each of the 3 water points on each stage – i.e. outside technical help is allowed within these designated technical zones. This service mirrors the Shimano Tech Zones first introduced at the UCI World Cup Cross Country (XCO) races in 2005. At every water point Shimano will provide neutral technical support to all riders should they require it. Where water points are accessible to the public, private technical support is allowed within the demarcated technical support zones. Not all the water points are accessible to the public and hence at these water points, where private technical supporters cannot access, riders can only make use of the Shimano neutral tech support should they require outside service. Every day at least 1 water point is accessible to the public and hence every day there is at least 1 technical support zone accessible for private technical support. No support other than from a fellow rider is allowed outside these technical zones!
The Blue Bike Number Board for Non-Finishers still in the Race
Any rider that does not finish a stage or does not reach the finish line by the cut-off time (stages 1 â€“ 7: 17h00 and stage 8: 15h30) will have their bike number board replaced with a blue bike number board. These riders may continue riding the race, but will not be classified as official finishers even if they continue to ride the entire race. On the last stage, these riders will not pass the main finish line at Lourensford reserved for official Absa Cape Epic finishers and will be diverted to a separate finish line that is shared with the Vigne Ã Vigne riders at Lourensford. If a blue-board rider does not finish a second stage, then he or she will have their bike number board removed and may not continue riding the race.
Some existing rules will be more strictly applied than in previous years. These rules are highlighted below.
Cut-off Times will be Strictly Adhered
It is the organisers hope that all riders are fit enough to complete each and every stage within the cut-off time. In the past, when severe weather conditions or other mitigating factors were experienced, the cut-off time was on occasion extended. This caused confusion amongst riders and an unfair treatment of riders in mid-field that successfully reached the finish line within original cut-off time at great effort. The cut-off time for stages 1 â€“ 7 will be strictly 17h00 and for stage 8 it will be 15h30.
If a rider does not finish a stage within the cut-off time, he or she may continue to ride but will not be classified as an official finisher. A second stage DNF (did not finish) will result in disqualification and the rider may not continue riding.