Cape Town - IRONMAN have announced they have reached an agreement to acquire the Cape Epic mountain bike race in South Africa.
to operating The Motatapu and The Pioneer multiple stage mountain bike races in
New Zealand, the purchase of Cape Epic marks IRONMAN’s biggest step into the
mountain biking market, as they aim to grow this race format substantially
across the globe.
Founded in 2004, the Cape Epic is the only eight-day mountain bike (MTB)
stage race classed as hors catégorie (beyond categorisation) by the
Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). Having recently completed its 13th
edition, the race is unique in that it attracts world champions, Olympic
champions, and other top professional riders, as well as a large field of
international amateur participants.
“The Cape Epic is an iconic, world-class event that many consider the most
prestigious mountain bike race in the world. This acquisition shows the
commitment of IRONMAN and Wanda Sports to growing mass participation events
worldwide,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of IRONMAN who also
oversees the active lifestyle segment for Wanda Sports. “We see great potential
in the mountain biking market, and the Cape Epic will anchor a portfolio of
exciting and extraordinary off road and dirt-based races.”
Cape Epic founder Kevin Vermaak will spearhead this expansion for IRONMAN,
and will be responsible for developing a worldwide series of mountain bike
Known as the “untamed African mountain bike race,” this eight-day event
includes a prologue and seven stages, and is held in the Western Cape of South
Africa in March. The route changes every year, and the accumulated distance of
approximately 700km usually includes about 15 000m of altitude gain. Over the
years the Cape Epic has grown into the most televised mountain-bike stage race
in the world - it is a highlight on the professional racing calendar and
attracts amateur riders wanting to challenge themselves in the same environment
as the professional riders.
“We are very excited about the future of the Cape Epic and have been
looking for an opportunity to take a significant step forward,” said Vermaak.
“The event has changed the face of mountain biking and the opportunity to tap
into the expertise of a global event business like IRONMAN will take it to the
next level. I am honored to be afforded the opportunity to lead IRONMAN’s
mountain biking business and look forward to being part of the global
Vermaak said that Lynn Naudé
would remain to lead the existing Cape Epic management and staff who will
continue to deliver the race at the highest level. He also confirmed that the
Absa Cape Epic would continue to operate from Cape Town.
“The Cape Epic has come a long way since 2004 and is reaching a point where
its expansion depends on the growth of the mountain bike endurance category
across the world,” continued Vermaak. “With IRONMAN we’ve found a partner who
is aligned with where we want to go in terms of building that category.”
The 2017 edition of Absa Cape Epic will take place from March 19-26 with
the route being announced in October 2016.
For more information on the Absa
Cape Epic, visit www.cape-epic.com
For more information on IRONMAN and events in the
IRONMAN portfolio, visit www.ironman.com