CAPE TOWN, 6 March 2023 – The Shark is circling and ready to strike at the 2023 Absa Cape Epic.
In what is one of the event’s biggest-ever coups, road cycling legend Vincenzo Nibali will be hitting the magnificent trails of Meerendal Wine Estate, Hermanus, Val de Vie and others in this year’s race.
Italian Nibali, known as the “The Shark of the Strait”, “The Shark of Messina” or simply “The Shark”, only retired from professional road racing last year. Needing little introduction to cycling enthusiasts, he is one of only seven riders to have ever won the Vuelta a España, Giro d’Italia (twice) and the Tour de France.
He joins a host of international road cycling greats tackling Africa’s ultimate untamed MTB race, including European and Australian riders who lit up the international circuit in their heyday.
Nibali has joined the newly-formed Q36.5 ProCycling, and teamed up with fellow cyclist Ivan Santaromita for his first Cape Epic.
“Mountain biking is a passion that I’ve always had since I was a child, but unfortunately I had to abandon this discipline. Now I can spend much more time on it,” he says.
He enjoys that MTB allows riders to be much closer to the fans, as well as nature.
This week they will make their debut at the Andalucía Bike Race in Spain as part of his preparations for the Absa Cape Epic, having been advised to do so by a good friend.
Spain has of course been a happy hunting ground for Nibali, since it was where he won the Vuelta a España in 2010 and also ended his professional road cycling career in 2022.
Nibali’s 2014 Tour de France win is one of the greatest of modern times.
Having showed little form prior to the race, not even placing among the top finishers at several events leading up to cycling’s showpiece, he stunned all and sundry by grabbing the Yellow Jersey from stage two to eight.
After losing the lead in the next stage, he powered back in the tenth to win. This was one of four stages he won that year, allowing him to win the general classification by seven minutes and 52 seconds – the biggest victory margin in the Tour de France in 17 years.
Nibali recently joined SCOTT Sports, where he is a brand ambassador and involved in the development of new products.
“Having someone like Vincenzo join the team is just a joy. Talk about having the highest level of product tester for our road team! We look forward to working with Vincenzo on various projects over the next few years, and to the impact he will have on our new road team and beyond.” Julian Wagner, Bike Marketing Lead for SCOTT Sports, said on the brand’s website.
Nibali is just one of cycling’s superstars who will be lining up alongside aspirant amateurs to tackle the trek across 658km of wondrous untamed terrain and almost 16 000m of climbing,
cementing the hors catégorie-classified race as one of the major highlights on the
The eight-day event takes place from 19-26 March, and promises to be one of the most exciting to date.
The Absa Cape Epic is the world’s premier mountain bike stage race. The route changes every year, leading aspiring amateur and professional mountain bikers from around the world through roughly 700km of unspoilt scenery and 15 000m of accumulated climbing, over some of the most magnificent mountain passes in Western Cape in South Africa.
The race attracts professional and serious amateur riders from across the planet that participate in two-person teams. It’s a test of skill, fitness, partnership, equipment and mettle and provides a rider experience that is a benchmark for world mountain biking.
The Absa Cape Epic is a full-service race, meaning that everything is taken care of from the start – all riders need to think about is riding. It is the pinnacle event of the Epic Series which is a global portfolio of best-in-class mountain bike stage races.
The Epic Series is a global portfolio of the most exhilarating, rewarding, and spectacular 2-person team MTB stage races on the planet. Riders challenge themselves on world-famous trails, discover hidden gems and share a premium riding experience with some of the biggest names in the sport, all while surrounded by iconic landscapes.
Selected races function as qualifier events and grant access to the ultimate proving ground of man and machine: Africa, and the pinnacle event of the Epic Series, The Absa Cape Epic.
The Epic Series Races include:
The Absa Cape Epic (RSA); The SPAR Swiss Epic (SUI); The 4Islands MTB Croatia (CRO); Andorra Epic (Andorra), Port to Port and Cape to Cape (AUS); and FNB Wines2Whales (RSA).