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Year

Milestone

2002

Kevin Vermaak participated in the 10th edition of La Ruta de los Conquistadores in Costa Rica. It was while riding in this multiday mountain bike stage race that the idea of the Cape Epic was born in the mind of Vermaak.

2003

Kevin Vermaak resigns from Royal Bank of Scotland and buys a ticket to Cape Town, South Africa.

2003

The Cape Epic name and logo are finalised in London + Munich: The knobbly tyres of the cyclist show that it is an off-road mountain bike race. The zebra stripes represented Untamed Africa. The colours of the South Africa flag denote that it will be a truly South African race.

2003

The first marketing opportunity for the Cape Epic was a roaring success. The promotional stand at the Pick n Pay Cape Argus Cycle Tour Expo in Cape Town attracted more than 1000 inquiries.

2003

More than eighty VIP's, sports journalists and guests attend the official launch party of the Cape Epic at the Cullinan Hotel, Cape Town.

2003

South African regional entries for 2004 sell out in three days.

2003

The first crew workshop was held, along with distribution of the first official Cape Epic merchandise to 27 attendees - 17 of whom have worked at every single race since 2004. It was also the only time that black caps were produced for Cape Epic merchandise, and the few proud owners  of these first pieces of official merchandise refer to this workshop as the ‘black-cap workshop’.

2004

2004 Inaugural Cape Epic: 28 February to 6 March. 788km & 17 380m climbing, from Knysna to Spier.  550 riders, 21% international and 20 countries represented. Winners: Karl Platt & Mannie Heymans.

2004

The 350 SA regional team entries for Cape Epic 2005 sell out in less than five hours, and the international block of entries sells out for the first time.

2004

To accommodate the growing full-time staff of the Cape Epic, occupation of the new offices at 155 Loop Street in Cape Town were taken.  The staff of 2 in 2004 has grown to 20 full-time staff that work exclusively for the race throughout the year. 

2005

2005 Cape Epic: 2 April to 9 April. 898km & 16 020m climbing, from Knysna to Spier. 840 riders, 25% international and 29 countries represented. Winners: Roel Paulissen & Bart Brentjens.

2005

The Vigne à Vigne was launched. A mountain bike race held at the Grand Finale venue the morning of the Cape Epic finish, it is designed to allow  riders to finish in time to see the winning Cape Epic riders cross the finish line. 

2005

The Cape Epic is awarded UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) status, the first ever team mountain bike stage race, and at the time the only mountain bike race in Africa to appear on the UCI calendar.

2005

The Cape Epic surpasses 2 500 hours of global TV hours to become the most televised mountain bike race of all time. 

2006

Absa, Africa's leading bank, announces title sponsorship – it's the Absa Cape Epic presented by Adidas.

2006

2006 Absa Cape Epic: 22 April to 29 April. 940km & 16 605m climbing, from Knysna to Spier. 1040 riders, 31% international and 35 countries represented. Winners: Christoph Sauser & Silvio Bundi.

2006

Introduction of Amabubesi club – the Cape Epic finishers club. "Amabubesi" means "pride of lions" in Zulu, an excellent description for mountain bikers that return year after year to ride. Riders that have finished the event three times will be awarded membership of Amabubesi. 

2006

Lourensford is announced as the new finish venue after three successful finishes at Spier Wine Estate.

2007

2007 Absa Cape Epic: 24 March to 31 March. 886km & 15 045m climbing, from Knysna to Lourensford. 1200 riders, 29% international and 45 countries represented. Winners: Karl Platt & Stefan Sahm.

2007

A daily 24 minute TV highlights package is distributed globally – a world first for any mountain bike stage race.

2007

Personalised nutrition services introduced. Riders provide three Absa Cape Epic personalised water bottles each night with their own personal nutrition/recovery drink already mixed in it. The importance and appeal of chilled nutrition and recovery drinks on a 40 degree day ensures that this service sells out each year. 

2007

Absa African Jersey for highest-placed all African team introduced.

2008

2008 Absa Cape Epic: 28 March to 5 April. 966km & 18 529m climbing, from Knysna to Lourensford, including first prologue time trial. 1200 riders, 29% international and 41 countries represented. Winners: Roel Paulissen & Jakob Fuglsang.

2008

Team Absa, featuring South African celebrities and sports figures, riding for charity, launched.

2008

New route concept announced – multiple days in one stage location. Prologue to take place beneath Table Mountain.

2009

2009 Absa Cape Epic: 21 March to 28 March. 744km & 15 132m climbing, from Cape Town to Lourensford. 1200 riders, 32% international and 46 countries represented. Winners: Karl Platt & Stefan Sahm.

2010

Freedom Ride on Robben Island, where a select group of riders had the opportunity to ride their bikes on Robben Island, including a tour and visit to Nelson Mandela's cell.

2010

Introduction of OUTCAST jersey. This jersey is given to any UCI pro-elite cateogry rider whose partner is no longer participating in the race for any reason, allowing them to continue riding, so long as they do not provide physical assistance to any other UCI pro-elite rider or podium contender. 

2010

2010 Absa Cape Epic: 21 March to 28 March. 661km & 14 126m climbing, from Dimersfontein to Lourensford. 1200 riders, 38% international and 51 countries represented. Winners: Karl Platt & Stefan Sahm.

2010

Introduction of Men's floating trophy. If a team wins it 5 times, they will keep it.

2011

2011 Absa Cape Epic: 27 March to 3 April. 708km & 14 550m climbing, from Tokai to Lourensford. 1200 riders, 40% international and 49 countries represented. Winners: Christoph Sauser & Burry Stander.

2011

Nine current and former world champions ride the 2011 Absa Cape Epic.

2011

The Women's race is awarded UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) HC (Hors Catagorie) status, allowing Ladies to earn UCI points during the race.

2011

To coincide with Craft’s introduction as the official cycling apparel of the Absa Cape Epic, a new logo was introduced along with a complete brand refresh. The new corporate identity was launched along with 2012 route.

2012

Grand Masters category, in which both riders must be 50 years or older, is announced for 2013.

2012

2012 Absa Cape Epic: 25 March to 1 April. 775km & 16 300m climbing, from Meerendal to Lourensford. 1200 riders, 34% international and 49 countries represented. Winners: Christoph Sauser & Burry Stander.

2012

The first Exxaro Academy riders compete for the Exxaro Development Jersey. Exxaro established the academy to introduce mountain biking into historically disadvantaged communities, as a catalyst for change in South Africa.

2012

Introduction of Ladies' floating trophy. If a team wins it 5 times, they will keep it.

2013

706km & 15 950m climbing, from Meerendal to Lourensford. 1 258 riders, 33% international and 45 countries represented.  Winners: Christoph Sauser & Jaroslav Kulhavy.

2013

Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes were awarded the Burry Stander Memorial Trophy for being the overall winners of the African Jersey. The Trophy  was handed to them by Cherise Stander, wife of the late Burry. Created by Angus Taylor, the trophy honours the first and to date only South African  winner. Burry Stander, who died tragically in a collision with a taxi whilst training on January 3, would have ridden the 2013 event as the reigning champion.

2013

The tenth edition of the Untamed African Mountain Bike Race featured all three podium finishers from the London 2012 Olympic Games - Jaroslav Kulhavÿ from the Czech Republic (Gold), Nino Schurter from Switzerland (Silver) and Marco Fontana from Italy (Bronze).

2014

World record prize money for Women’s Purse. Triumph for women as 2014 Absa Cape Epic sets benchmark with R700 000 prize purse with the race’s  total prize purze for all categories now at R1 600 000.

2014

The Absa Cape Epic and Tracker introduce live tracking of all 600 participating teams over the course of the race.

2014

Live broadcast of the 2014 Absa Cape Epic Grand Finale to Europe.

2015

Introduction of a 26-minute television show dedicated to the women’s race alone. Previously the women’s race had been part of the overall broadcast.

2015

The Absa Cape Epic moves its headquarters from Loop Street to new, custom-designed offices at 21 Pepper Street in the Cape Town CBD.

2015

The Absa Cape Epic Grand Finale finishes at Meerendal Wine Estate for the first time. The estate had been the Prologue venue for the previous three years.

2015  The Prologue returns to the slopes of Table Mountain for the first time since 2009. It starts and finishes at the University of Cape Town.
2016

Additional innovative changes were made to the rules governing the women’s race. From 2016 onwards the UCI-registered women would start in a separate group and would be able to wear different logos on similarly coloured jerseys (to facilitate women from different trade teams riding together). 

2016

In a world first for mountain bike events, the Absa Cape Epic included 360-degree immersive video of the pro peloton. The filming was done from a camera mounted above the head of former Absa Cape Epic winner Stefan Sahm. He rode an electrically-powered e-bike so he could stay with the leading pack while carrying the equipment. 
History was also made when Sahm’s live footage from the route was used in the live streaming and television broadcasts – the first time an onboard camera had been used in this way at a mountain bike event.

2016

A daily two-hour production of the race with a dedicated host was streamed live every day.

2016

A 45 minute daily chat show about the Absa Cape Epic day was streamed live every day. It included interviews with pro riders, and cycling experts and a behind-the-scenes look.

2016

Four riders started the race who had done every event since the launch in 2004. The Absa Cape Epic launched a Last Lions award to celebrate their achievement and will award a Last Lion trophy to the last rider among them who is still in the event.

2017

Absa Cape Epic acquired by IRONMAN, which appoints race founder Kevin Vermaak as Managing Director of the Cape Epic global series.

2017 The Grand Finale finish is hosted at Val de Vie in the Paarl/Franschhoek Valley for the first time.
2017 Grandstand Management wins the bid to host the 2018 UCI MTB World Cup opening event in Stellenbosch.
2017 First-place finishers in the Exxaro special jersey race win an eight-day stay at the renowned Bakala Academy in Leuven, Belgium in addition to their R50 000 prize money.
2017 The race has a second eBike rider – former professional Thomas Dietsch – to film the women’s race by GoPro.
2017 Both the male and female Olympic gold medallists – Nino Schurter and Jenny Rissveds – tackle the 2017 Absa Cape Epic.