On the Tuesday night before the third stage of the 2012 Absa Cape Epic, there were cheers in the dining hall from the riders as it was announced that the next day would no longer be the longest stage in the history of the race.

Instead of 147km from Robertson to Caledon, that year’s queen stage in the ninth year off the Epic would be 143km. What unbridled joy coursed through us until we were told there would still be 2,900m of climbing. Oh, and there would be a sting in the last 10km. The sting was a silly gambol up a meadow, then down a rocky descent, then, as I wrote at the time, “with the skyscrapers of Caledon in our sight, they sent us up again. ‘This,’ said a man who rode up the final hill with me, ‘is unnecessary’. ”..

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