Tour de France legends Cadel Evans and George Hincapie confirmed to ride in Masters category at the 2017 Absa Cape Epic.
Former Tour de France winner and international cycling legend Cadel Evans of Australia will ride the 2017 Absa Cape Epic. Evans confirmed this week that he will partner with 17-time Tour de France finisher George Hincapie for the eight-day event that starts in Meerendaal on March 19.
“Ever since I first heard about the Absa Cape Epic I have wanted to try it,” Evans said. “But they tell me it’s very hard.”
Evans, 40, and Hincapie, 43, will ride for the BMC Absa Racing Team in the Masters category.
Evans, nicknamed ‘The Lung’, started his career as a mountain biker and won the World Cup in 1998 and 1999. He turned to road racing after placing seventh in the men’s cross-country mountain bike race at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. After twice finishing second in the Tour de France, and being plagued by bad luck, he finally won the event in 2011.
“I am a racer, but we are racing against far more experienced riders so we have to be realistic,” Evans said. “If George and I can put up with each other, and race hard without any major mishaps, that will be good.”
Hincapie is one of the most legendary riders in the world, with numerous world championships, national championships and professional victories to his credit.
During his 19-year professional career, Hincapie was regarded as the premier American classics rider of his generation. He competed in a record 17 Ronde van Vlaanderen races and finished second at the gruelling Paris-Roubaix – the best ever for any American. Beyond the classics, he rode in the Tour de France 17 times and won three US National Road Race championships.
Asked why he had chosen to do the Epic, Hincapie laughed: “Cadel made me do it … and it looks like an amazing adventure in the African outback.”
“Troy (de Haas, their BMC team manager) sent us a bunch of videos on the race to start visualising and preparing over the next months, but that’s about it.”
Evans has been back on his mountain bike since retiring: “Yes, I came into cycling through mountain biking. I stayed away from the trails for most of my road career, but as soon as I stopped competing I started riding off-road again.”
“I have not competed seriously since February 2015. For training reasons, I will try to get some competition in before the Epic.”
Hincapie admits he has no experience racing mountain bikes: “I have always enjoyed riding off road but never really raced it except just with mates at home”.
“Should I be worried?” Evans laughed. “It will be my first time in South Africa. That alone will be a great experience.”
Hincapie has also never visited South Africa, but admits it’s always been on his bucket list and that “to do it as a part of this team is very exciting”.