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The Absa Cape Epic is open to professional and amateur mountain bikers. To ensure that the race is accessible to riders from around the world no qualification is required.

To be eligible to ride participants must be at least 19 years old on 31 December of the year of the race. The Absa Cape Epic has seen amateurs from all walks of life compete alongside decorated professional mountain bikers, including Olympic medalists and World Champions. It is every rider's responsibility to ensure that they arrive at the Prologue start with the necessary fitness level to participate.

Each of the 1300 riders are required to complete a few compulsory actions, this includes: an online medical questionnaire, a online liability disclaimer, a Tracker deposit paid by the primary rider and a transponder deposit paid by each rider.  A rider cannot start the race without completing these actions.  

There are five different race categories:

Men Both riders are male.
Women Both riders are female.
Virgin Active Mixed One rider is male and one rider is female.
Dimension Data Masters Both riders are 40 years or older on 31 December of the year of the race.
 Grand Masters Both riders are 50 years or older on 31 December of the year of the race.

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