by the numbers
The statistics behind
The Race That Measures All
the Absa Cape Epic was born &
the mountain bike world changed forever
The inaugural Absa Cape Epic broke barriers, smashed perceptions of what was possible, and laid the foundations for what would become the World’s Premier Mountain Bike Stage Race.
In the 16 editions to date, the Absa Cape Epic has attracted Olympians, World and National Champions, war veterans, famous sports stars and celebrities, as well as thousands of everyday heroes. Each passing event sees new names added to The Book of Legend and new stories etched into the lore that surrounds the Untamed African MTB Race.
While many of these stories grow from telling to telling, there are certain Epic Facts that will remain forever.
- The idea of the Absa Cape Epic was conceived while Founder, Kevin Vermaak, was taking part in the La Ruta de los Conquistadores in Costa Rica in November, 2002
- The Absa Cape Epic has been described as the “Tour de France of mountain biking” by 1996 Olympic Gold Medallist, Bart Brentjens.
- 966 kilometres: The longest Absa Cape Epic to date (2008)
- The longest stage in Absa Cape Epic history was the 146km Stage 5 in 2008, which took riders from Swellendam to Bredasdorp.
Christoph Sauser and Burry Stander receive their trophy for winning the 2012 Absa Cape Epic
- Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser are the last team to have won the Absa Cape Epic Men’s Category back to back.
- There are only three riders who have five Elite category victories to their name: Annika Langvad, Karl Platt and Christoph Sauser.
Ariane Lüthi and Annika Langvad celebrate their victory during the final stage of the 2015 Absa Cape Epic
- Annika Langvad and Ariane Lüthi are the only team to have ever won the Absa Cape Epic Women’s category back to back.
- Burry Stander is the only South African to have won the Men’s category in the Absa Cape Epic, to date.
- Stephen Roche and Cadel Evans are the only Tour de France winners to have raced the Absa Cape Epic.
- There are only four riders who have completed every single Absa Cape Epic; they are Craig Beech, John Gale, Mike Nixon and Hannele Steyn. They are known as the Last Lions.
- There has only ever been one stage shortened due to extreme weather: Stage 2 in 2017 from Hermanus High School to Elandskloof.
- 21 Olympic Medallists have raced the Absa Cape Epic.
There has only ever been one team to finish the Absa Cape Epic where both riders are amputees. This is the story of Jaco van Gass and Stuart Croxford, in 2019.
- 2014 is known as “the year of the locusts” as a swarm of locusts shared the Robertson race village with the riders.
- The most climbing ever included in an Absa Cape Epic was 18 529 metres, in the 2008 Absa Cape Epic.
- In 2014, the Absa Cape Epic set a new benchmark for global mountain biking by offering equal prize money across the UCI Men’s and Women’s categories.
- The first ever Absa Cape Epic prologue was introduced in 2008, in Knysna.
- Switzerland is the most successful nation at the Absa Cape Epic and 81 stages have been won by Swiss riders in the UCI Men’s and Women’s categories.
Swiss riders Lars Forster and Nino Schurter of Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing celebrate winning the 2019 Absa Cape Epic.
Table Mountain National Park first played host to an Absa Cape Epic Prologue in 2009. It has, in recent years, been the setting for exciting opening Prologues where races have been made and races have been ended