CAPE TOWN, 5 July 2023 – Hermanus in the Overberg Municipality has been named the 2023 Absa Cape Epic’s Best Stage Location.
Stakeholders – including Hermanus primary and high schools, Hermanus Cricket Club, the municipality and local landowners – pulled out all the stops to deliver an unforgettable experience for this year’s riders and Cape Epic supporters.
To celebrate the achievement, the Absa Cape Epic will host a small gathering to present the award at the Overstrand Municipality’s Banqueting Hall between 11am and 12pm on Wednesday 5 July.
The town hosted the first three stages of this year’s event, with two starting and finishing in Hermanus and the third ending at Oak Valley Estate in Grabouw.
It was the fifth time Hermanus hosted stages of the Cape Epic, the previous being in 2006, 2008, 2017 and 2019.
In all, visitors to the town for this year’s race booked 163 rooms over the three days, amounting to R1.76-million in accommodation costs. This figure excludes race participants, 60% of whom booked their own stay.
The town’s restaurants also did a roaring trade as riders and fans tucked into the local fare, while in a further act typifying the character of residents, members of the Hermanus Round Table collected and distributed food left over by Absa Cape Epic crew and riders to beneficiaries in the area.
Hermanus was ably supported by the residents of the picturesque Overberg village of Stanford, who helped run water points and offered marshalling services during the race.
They also came out in huge numbers to support the riders as they made their way through the leafy lanes of the historic settlement.
Trails used during stages 1,2 and 3 of the Absa Cape Epic included the Hemel-en-Aarde trails and Stanford Trail Network, which comprises Stanford Town, Paardeberg and Stanford Valley Country Lodge.
Absa Cape Epic organisers play a major role in developing existing trail networks and introducing new links between them for the race.
Route director Hendrico Burger explained that aside from financial contributions organisers also assisted with maintenance work on trails after natural disasters like flooding and fires.
“Maintenance is done in partnership with land owners and managers and includes infrastructure like bridges. Cape Trails also plays a role in trail maintenance,” he said.
He added the Absa Cape Epic contribution to the trails was ongoing, and also benefitted the sister Wines2Whales MTB stage race.
Hermanus rider Almarie Hugo, who partnered with her son Neil for the race, felt so proud that her hometown won Best Stage Location.
“All the people came out to support. People often don’t’ realise what the Epic is until they see all the effort and preparation that goes into it,” she said.
“I can see why Hermanus won the award. You get your food and massages and bike mechanics, and everything is close by. Even with the wind nothing stopped.”
While she was delighted to finish the Epic herself, her son was less fortunate.
A stomach bug forced him out of the race on stage 5, meaning she had to ride alone.
She will be back next year, however.
“I have unfinished business with my son,” the 59-year-old quipped.
Absa Cape Epic
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).