The Absa Cape Epic is an annual two-person MTB team event held in South Africa over 8 days which includes Time Trial prologue. It has been accredited as hors categorie (beyond categorisation) by the Union Cycliste Internationale. Among other events in world cycling which enjoy this status are the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. First staged in 2004, the race typically covers more than 700 kilometres (435 miles), and lasts eight days – a prologue and seven stages. The Absa Cape Epic attracts elite professional mountain bikers from around the world, who compete in teams of two. To qualify for a finish, teams have to stay together for the duration of the race. A total of 600 teams take part. The times taken to finish each stage are aggregated to determine the overall winning team in each category at the end of the race. The course changes every year, but the race has always taken place in the Western Cape. The Absa Cape Epic was described by Bart Brentjens, 1996 Olympic gold medallist in mountain biking and a former Absa Cape Epic winner, as the “Tour de France of mountain biking”.
Amateur mountain bikers can gain a slot through a lottery – this amazing video shows the emotions that riders go through during the event.