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2006 Cape Epic awarded UCI status

Next year's Cape Epic in South Africa will be the first team mountain bike race to be awarded UCI status. Points will be shared between the two riders in the team in the same way that a road team would share points awarded in a team time trial. It is also the only MTB race in Africa to feature on the UCI calendar for 2006 and the second cycling race Africa to achieve this status, the other being the five-day Giro del Capo.

"This is doubly exciting for the race," said Cape Epic director, Kevin Vermaak. "We'll be getting more top riders from around the world coming to South Africa and it also gives South African riders the chance to earn points on their home turf before embarking upon a season of racing in Europe in the northern hemisphere summer. The World Cup riders that rode Cape Epic 2005 went on to do extremely well in the World Cup season and the Cape Epic is increasingly becoming the race that many riders are using to get their season off to a flying start."

The Cape Epic is working together with the UCI to formulate team mountain bike racing rules, as the Cape Epic is the first race with a two-person team format to feature in their rule book. A further advantage for the Cape Epic is that the race date will be set 18 months in advance to ensure a favourable position in the global mountain bike racing calendar. "Due to recent adjustments in the UCI calendar there is also no time clash with World Cup races in 2006 as the first Cross Country race takes place three weeks prior to the Cape Epic and the first Marathon World Cup one week after our event," explained Cape Epic media director Sonja Güldner-Hamel.

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