With the world’s best mountain bikers at the start, this year’s Cape Epic will be held in South Africa from April 2-9. For the first time, an Olympic Champion, the current number one in the UCI World Ranking and the reigning overall World Cup Champion Cross Country will compete in a mountain bike race in South Africa.
Giant Racing Team rider Bart Brentjens (Ned), the Olympic Champion in Atlanta and Bronze Medallist in Athens, will ride the approximately 850 km through the Western Cape together with his new teammate Roel Paulissen (Bel), the current leader of the UCI World Ranking Cross Country. The Dutch-Belgium Giant Team is a hot favourite for the victory, but they will face strong competition. Siemens Cannondale riders Christoph Sauser (Swi), the 2004 overall World Cup Champion Cross Country and Bronze Medallist at the Olympic Games in Sydney, and Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe), fifth at the 2004 World Cup finals in Livigno, also have ambitions.
Last year’s winners Mannie Heymans (Nam) and Karl Platt (Ger) will start with new partners. African Champion Mannie Heymans (Focus) has teamed up with South Africa’s number one, Jacques Roussow (GT), who placed third in 2004. After winning all three major mountain bike stage races last year (the Epic, TransAlp and TransRockies), Karl Platt will start at the second edition of the Magical and Untamed African Race with his good friend and new Rocky Mountain team partner, the Marathon Worlds Bronze Medallist Carsten Bresser (GER), with whom he already won the adidas Bike TransAlp Challenge in 2002.
Austrian rider Silvio Wieltschnig (Fiat Rotwild), who finished his first Epic on second place overall, will join forces with South Africa’s Kevin Evans (Scott), one of the leading SA mountain bikers, this year.
Hot candidate to win the Women category is team adidas Fiat Bianchi with multiple SA MTB Champion Hannele Steyn-Kotze, who placed third at last year’s adidas Bike TransAlp Challenge, and South Africa’s famous golf pro Zoë Frost, winner of several international Pro Am tournaments as well as two individual and two team US National Championships.
Other mountain bike celebrities participating in the second annual Cape Epic are multiple 24 hour Solo World Champion Chris Etough (USA) as well as mountain bike pioneer Keith Bontrager (USA), who built his first mountain bike frame in 1980 and has contributed immensely to the development of bicycles and parts for the last decades.
For further press information go to www.cape-epic.com