14 September 2023

Absa renews its commitment to supporting the world's premier mountain bike stage race and to growing women participation in cycling.

Absa, a leading financial services provider in Africa, is pleased to announce the extension of its title sponsorship of the Absa Cape Epic, the world's premier mountain-bike stage race. The extension solidifies Absa's long-standing position as the primary sponsor of the iconic event, which has come to be known as one of the world’s toughest mountain-bike races.

The agreement was signed by Absa Group Chief Marketing and Corporate Affairs Officer, Sydney Nhlanhla Mbhele, and Senior Vice President & Managing Director EMEA at The IRONMAN Group, Thomas Veje Olsen, in Cape Town on 14 September, just ahead of the Absa Cape Epic 2024 route launch event on the same day. The agreement secures Absa’s position as title sponsor until 2027. The 20th edition of the Absa Cape Epic is scheduled to take place from 17-24 March 2024.

“We are delighted to extend our sponsorship of this premier event for a further three years,” said Sydney. “Through our near 19-year journey as title sponsor of the Absa Cape Epic, we have witnessed the incredible evolution, growth and success of the event and we are proud to be associated with the Cape Epic. The enduring partnership between Absa, a purpose-led pan-African bank, and Cape Epic is testament to our shared commitment to elevating an iconic sports event while at the same time leveraging our potential to be an active force for good. This partnership delivers real impact among riders, corporate citizenship in the form of community development, education, and women empowerment.”

The eight-day event and preparation months prior to the start have a significant economic impact as local communities and businesses host 1 360 local and international riders, thousands of spectators and event staff along the 700km route through villages, towns and cities. 

“The Absa Cape Epic has become the pinnacle event it is, thanks largely to the backing of Absa,” said Thomas Veje Olsen. “Absa’s commitment and support has not only had a monumental impact on South African mountain biking but more importantly on local communities. We thank Absa for their unwavering commitment and dedication to our event, as well as initiatives like #SheUntamed, which we are immensely proud to be part of.”

The Absa Cape Epic, often referred to as the ‘Untamed African MTB Race’, has gained international acclaim over the years, attracting the world’s top riders and enthusiasts from around the globe. The race presents a unique opportunity for participants to challenge themselves against the breathtaking backdrop of South Africa's diverse landscapes while promoting community development and sustainable tourism in the region.

As part of Absa’s strategic ambition to be an active force for good in everything it does, Absa has actively promoted women participation in the Absa Cape Epic through its #SheUntamed initiative since 2019. The number of women participating in the race, one of the world’s toughest, has increased from 36 in 2019 to 146 in 2023, in large part due to Absa’s purposeful efforts, alongside Cape Epic. 

“Transformation, diversity and inclusion is a core value at Absa and one that we seek to promote throughout our organisation and our sponsorship estate,” said Sydney. “It is inspiring and rewarding to see women participation in this challenging event grow each year.”

Absa's steadfast support of the Absa Cape Epic demonstrates the organisation's dedication to fostering a spirit of adventure, camaraderie, and healthy competition among riders. The partnership extends beyond the race, contributing to the growth of mountain biking as a sport and promoting the conservation of South Africa's natural beauty.

The Absa Cape Epic is not only a showcase of elite athleticism but also a celebration of the human spirit's indomitable will to conquer new challenges. As Absa looks forward to the future, it aims to continue empowering riders, communities, and volunteers alike, making a lasting impact on the world of mountain biking and the broader South African community.