the 2022 race
Gear up for what promises to be one of the most exciting Absa Cape Epics to date
It’s been a little over four months since Max Menzies and Fernell Regue of Steel Challenge rode into Val de Vie Estate to bring down the curtain on what was a unique Absa Cape Epic. The 2021 event was a one-of-a-kind for various reasons, among those, that it was held in October, featured half the usual rider numbers and had no spectators due to Covid-enforced regulations
If 2021 was all about the pure excitement of returning the trails, then perhaps the 2022 theme is at its core something of a throwback to some of the ‘classic’ stages of The Race That Measures all. With many a modern twist (and singletrack turn) of course.
In just a few days, over 1 000 riders from nations far and wide will tackle 681 kilometres featuring some 16 900 metres of climbing. Those climbs will include much storied ascents and locations. Names such as Rusty Gate, Bakenskop, and UFO feature on the map, as does the famed Gantouw Pass portage. Lourensford Wine Estate makes a very welcome comeback, this time as the launchpad of the event rather than the Grand Finale that it has hosted on eight previous occasions.
Gantouw Pass portage
Also returning with fire will be Matt Beers, the local hero who won the 2021 men’s title with Jordan Sarrou. Beers will be defending his title with a new partner, XCC World Champion, Christopher Blevins. Beers and Blevins have their work cut out for the them, however, with the likes of 2019 champions Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing (Nino Schurter and Lars Forster), Canyon Northwave MTB (Andreas Seewald and Martin Stošek) as well as 2021 standouts Hans Becking and José Dias racing for Buff-Megamo in the mix. Also in the hunt will be the ubiquitous Bulls, fielding two teams (featuring Urs Huber and Simon Schneller, as well as Hansueli Stauffer and Alban Lakata).
On the topic of taking the bull by the horns, the most successful ever Team Bulls rider, Karl Platt, has teamed up with old-time rival, Christoph Sauser. Sauser and Platt have been fierce rivals since 2006 and are, to date, the two most successful riders in the men’s pro category. The pair will race as team songo.info NinetyOne Epic Legends and will race for the blue NTT Masters jersey instead of the yellow jersey of which they each own a handful.
The most successful ever Team Bulls rider, Karl Platt, has teamed up with old-time rival, Christoph Sauser.
Matt Beers & jordan sarrou
Along with the new NTT Masters Jersey, the elite women will be racing for a new jersey as CM.com has come on board not only as Official Conversational Commerce Partner, but also as new sponsor of the Women’s category. CM.com is a multinational corporation with various high-profile clients that offers solutions for ways of connecting people with each other.
Gunning for the CM.com Women’s category title will be 2021 runners up, Candice Lill and Mariske Strauss.
The last time an all-South African team won the Absa Cape Epic was in 2007 when Anke Moore and Yolande De Villiers won the women’s title. Both Lill and Strauss have two second place finishes at the Absa Cape Epic and 2022 could potentially be the year that the first all-South African team wins the CM.com Women’s category since its elevation to equal prize money and UCI points, to the men’s category, in 2014.
The South African pairing will be up against the likes of the new pairing of Haley Batten and Argentina's Sofia Gomez Villafane as well as the Symbtech ZA outfit of Ariane Lüthi and Amy Wakefield; they will also have to contend with BMC MTB Racing's Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Robyn De Groot.
Candice Lill & Mariske Strauss
All the various category jerseys will be made by Ciovita – an international cycling apparel brand with headquarters in Cape Town – who has come on board in a multi-year deal as the Official Technical Cycling Apparel partner to the Epic Series.
The name Ciovita is a combination of Italian and Latin words and means “life in motion”. This philosophy underpins the brand’s approach to an industry that is always pushing itself to go further and faster.
In more exciting news, Squirt Cycling Products has increased its involvement with the Epic Series and becomes the Official Bicycle Care Products of its global portfolio of class-leading mountain bike stage races. Squirt Cycling Products has been involved with the Epic Series for some years now through partnerships with both the Swiss Epic and the pinnacle event, the Absa Cape Epic.
Teams and fans alike are indeed in for a treat on the 2022 instalment of the pinnacle event with all the various elements – from top riders, and tough, spectacular stages to quaint race-village locations and vibey spectator points – lined up for a historic event. That’s right, spectators will once again be allowed to be a part of the Untamed African Mountain Bike Race in 2022.
And if you can’t get to the Western Cape from the 20th to the 27th of March 2022, head to cape-epic.com to catch the daily Live Broadcast.
top riders & specatular stages
That’s right, spectators will once again be allowed to be a part of the Untamed African Mountain Bike Race in 2022.