Elite races to be held the week before Absa Cape Epic
CAPE TOWN, South Africa/TAMPA, Fla. (January 27, 2017) – IRONMAN, a Wanda Sports Holding Company, announced today that the recently acquired Absa Cape Epic® has expanded its profile by securing the opening round of the 2018 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Mountain Bike (MTB) World Cup. The first leg of the UCI MTB World Cup will take place on the slopes of the Coetzenburg Mountain in Stellenbosch, South Africa on March 10. The Absa Cape Epic stage race, which is held one week later, attracts the world’s best mountain bikers to the Western Cape, and combined with this event will bring more athletes, press and industry leaders than ever before.
“This is great news for our sport and the region. These races are televised live to many countries around the world and attract significant media attention. The Western Cape has been positioning itself as a global mountain biking destination and hosting the UCI MTB World Cup supports that vision,” said Absa Cape Epic CEO Lynn Naudé.
The UCI series attracts the crème de la crème of international cross country mountain biking and tens of thousands of spectators to its races around the world.
“Being able to secure the opening round of the UCI MTB World Cup in South Africa is another milestone in our endeavours to extend our portfolio. We look forward to welcoming the best mountain bike athletes in Stellenbosch for the premier race of the UCI MTB World Cup 2017,” added Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of IRONMAN.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, welcomed the news. “My aim is to ensure that the Western Cape becomes Africa’s premier cycling destination. Securing the 2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup opener is a major victory in this quest. By showcasing the beauty and sophistication of our trails, this event will stimulate international interest in our province as a bucket-list cycling destination. My hope is that cycle tourism becomes a major revenue and job creator for our region. We’re thrilled to be working with such excellent partners in executing this event,” said Minister Winde.
The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano consists of eight rounds around the world. Riders are given points based on their results and at the end of the year the one with the most accumulated points is declared the winner. Four races will be held in their respective categories on March 10 – the men’s and women’s elite events and corresponding under-23 races. The races will be held eight days before the start of the Absa Cape Epic and the day before the Cape Town Cycle Tour.
“There are thousands of cyclists in the Western Cape at the time and we hope many will take the opportunity to watch the world’s best in action at Coetzenburg,” said Naudé.
Cross country races are held over several laps of a physically demanding course, which typically includes technical descents, forest track, rocky paths and natural obstacles. Circuits range from four to ten kilometres each and racing varies from about one hour to two hours. The short nature of the courses mean exciting viewing for television and spectators.
The 2018 race will take place from the University of Stellenbosch onto the cross-country course on the Coetzenburg Mountain. A course already exists on the slopes and has hosted a national championship, but it will be upgraded by the Absa Cape Epic team. South Africa previously staged a UCI World Cup race in Pietermaritzburg in 2014. Stellenbosch has also been positioning itself as a mountain biking mecca and is a favourite stopover of foreign riders, some of whom stay there to train during the European winter.
Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch, Gesie van Deventer, looks forward to welcoming this event to the area. “As Mayor, I am very excited to have Stellenbosch host the opening leg of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in 2018. Stellenbosch is well known as a mountain biking destination in South Africa and this is our opportunity to become an international destination for the sport. We are looking forward to welcoming the visitors, participants and organizers to our region and to partner with them for an incredible world class experience. This is a significant boost to Stellenbosch and will have a knock on effect which will benefit our entire community.”
“The existing infrastructure is already there and is very spectator-friendly. We will be adding some world class elements,” said Naudé. She pointed out that securing the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano round was aligned with Absa Cape Epic’s growth strategy as an event business “and we are naturally delighted to have secured such a prestigious race for the region”.
Naudè said the benefits for the region would include:
- Bringing the world’s best riders to a passionate South African mountain biking audience
- Showcasing the region as an ideal destination for major sporting events
- Promoting a cycling culture and all the health and economic benefits associated with it
The 2017 edition of Absa Cape Epic will take place from March 19-26. For more information on the Absa Cape Epic, visit www.cape-epic.com.
For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com.
A Wanda Sports Holdings company, IRONMAN operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, Iron Girl®, IRONKIDS®, six of nine International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series races, road cycling events including the UCI VELOTHON Series, mountain bike races, premier marathons and other multisport races. IRONMAN’s events, together with all other Wanda Sports Holdings events, provide more than 680,000 participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN®brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Beginning as a single race, IRONMAN has grown to become a global sensation with more than 260 events across 44 countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
About Wanda Sports Holding
Wanda Sports Holding is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape – in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media & marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Wanda Sports Holding incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN, and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.
The Absa Cape Epic is the world’s premier mountain bike stage race. The route changes every year, taking professional mountain bikers and aspiring amateurs from around the world through about 700km of unspoilt scenery and 15,000m of accumulated climbing over some of the most magnificent mountain passes in South Africa’s Western Cape province. The Absa Cape Epic is the most televised mountain bike event in the world and the only eight-day stage race classed as hors catégorie (beyond categorisation) by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the same category as the iconic Grand Tours of road cycling. This official UCI status makes it a highlight of the professional rider’s calendar. The Absa Cape Epic also attracts amateur riders from around the world wanting to test themselves against the world’s leading riders. It is a full-service race, meaning that riders can concentrate on riding while services such as accommodation, food, bike cleaning and maintenance, laundry and medical assistance are provided for them.
For further information, please contact:
Absa Cape Epic
Phone: +27 82 45 75 88 6
Phone: +49 (0)40 88 18 00 11