The largest, full-service mountain bike stage race in the world, the Absa Cape Epic, has once again defied the odds and beaten records - from offering much needed support during these difficult times to having their entries completely sold out for the 2021 event.
The 8-day mountain bike stage race - which covers 700kms of the Western Cape region in South Africa - was due to start on 15 March on Table Mountain - following a route through Ceres, Tulbagh and Wellington - and end on 22 March in Paarl. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was cancelled out of concern for the health and safety of riders and other stakeholders.
Despite the cancellation event organisers, riders and charity organisations rallied together to raise funds to support those hardest hit by the pandemic. A total of 1 200 riders came together and raised R277 000, and donated 4 200 food parcels to those in need. An additional impressive R1.2 million was raised by the charity organisations, bringing the total raised funds to just under R2 million.
“The cancellation of the 2020 Absa Cape Epic was a devastating blow to every rider, but it was equally as crushing to our team and crew who had worked tirelessly for the past 12 months to ensure that we were ready for action,” said Michael Flinn, Managing Director of the Absa Cape Epic. We were thrilled to be able to assist communities in need through the donation of the 5.5 tonnes of food that would have been consumed on the event; witnessing the gratitude and relief of those receiving the food truly lifted our spirits. ”
On having the 2021 entries already sold out, Flinn said, “The selling out of the entries, combined with the overwhelming support from riders and our partners and communities gives our team the added motivation to move forward to ensure that the 2021 Absa Cape Epic is the best event yet."
One of the fund raising initiatives led by Barney’s Army, more commonly known as the John Smit Foundation, staged a 66km group ride on Zwift (a popular multiplayer online cycling and running physical training program) to raise funds for the impoverished communities of Ceres. The 5.5 tonnes of food that was intended for the event was distributed across the three host towns over two days, with event food sponsor Woolworths contributing to these packages.
Cape Town will once again host and support this premier event, which will continue to contribute to the local economy and raise much needed funds for local charities.
Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier says: “Well done to the Absa Cape Epic on their successes during this challenging time. The public’s interest in this landmark event is a positive indication that the events and tourism sector will recover, and we will be ready to welcome visitors to the Western Cape again so they can experience the best we have to offer in a safe and responsible way.”
“The sell-out of the Absa Cape Epic 2021, just over a year in advance, bears testament to the strength and and resilience of this iconic event. Events like this are a key contributor to our local economy, help us grow our tourism and hospitality sectors and contribute to new job creation. We look forward to welcoming back riders and their families from around the world to the 2021 race, and invite them to safely enjoy in the breadth and depth of unique experiences available to them in the region,” commented Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris.