“It took just seconds for them all to be snapped up this year,” said Absa Cape Epic chief executive Lynn Naudé. “I didn’t think it was possible for people to fill in the forms and submit at this speed.”
There were almost 1000 hopefuls who completed the Early Bird entry form when the process opened at 3pm but they were beaten to the ‘submit’ button by the lucky 100.
Those who missed out on an Early Bird entry can apply through the lottery system, which opened on the Absa Cape Epic website – www.cape-epic.com – after the Early Bird process was completed and runs until May 30, 2017.
Professional riders can apply for a wildcard entry if they hold a valid UCI racing license and have appropriate racing qualifications.
Those riders wishing to support one of the official charities, can buy a charity entry and thereby support a good cause. Entries are also available for media on request, but are limited. Also, Absa Cape Epic volunteers receive a guaranteed entry to the following year’s race.
In a new innovation riders in Cape Epic MTB World Series events will be able to qualify to take part in the Absa Cape Epic. The series is being rolled out at present and further announcements about these qualification opportunities will be made in due course.
Successful lottery entrants will be notified at the beginning of June, and can start their training programmes in anticipation of next year’s race. The cost is R74 900 per team for South Africans and 5 690 US Dollars for international entrants.
“Next year’s event will take place from 18 to 25 March and we look forward to welcoming all participants to the Untamed African Mountain Bike Race,” said Naudé.
Entries for the first ever Absa Cape Epic in 2004 sold out in three days. The next year they were all snapped up in four hours and 51 minutes. In 2010 the Early Bird system was introduced - selling out in less time each year.
Naudé said the 2017 event had been “a great success and we were delighted to have so many distinguished riders in the field and all performing well”
Olympic gold medallist and World Champion Nino Schurter won the Men’s category with Swiss countryman Matthias Schirnemann, while Olympic women’s mountain biking champion Jenny Rissveds of Sweden won the Virgin Active Mixed category with Thomas Frischknecht of Switzerland.
The Hangrohe Women’s category was won by internationally-renowned Swiss/Swedish combination Esther Süss and Jennie Stenerhag while former Tour de France winner Cadel Evans, riding with George Hincapie, stormed through the second half of the event to win the Dimension Data Masters category.
“Mother Nature threw some challenges at us but those were managed excellently by our team and we look forward to another great event in 2018,” said Naudé.