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The prologue and final stage of the Absa Cape Epic - already the most televised mountain bike race in the world - will this year be broadcast live in seven countries.

Television stations in the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary and Switzerland will take live feeds for two hours on the March 30 seventh and final stage. In South Africa the Prologue (23 March) and Stage 7 will be shown live for more than four hours each day.

 

 

"This is the first time it has been shown live beyond South Africa and we are obviously very pleased that our race and country are being shown off to so many international viewers," said Epic founder Kevin Vermaak. "When we introduced the daily highlights show back in 2007, it was a quite a challenge for our production teams. We were the first mountain bike race in South Africa to try this back then, but now it is a common feature for many races," he added.

This daily highlights show was shown in several countries across the world in the first year and has grown in popularity every year since.

The media exposure has become a major drawcard for professional riders - this year, for example, Cross Country World Champion Nino Schurter and Marathon World Champion Christoph Sauser are among scores of top ranked riders in the line-up - and their sponsors.

Arguably the most decorated mountain biker of all time and a four times Epic winner, Sauser said "the Absa Cape Epic is now the most important mountain bike race to win, more than the World Champs or a World Cup".

The Epic prologue was first televised live in 201l, but only on South Africa's Supersport channel. In 2012 the same channel broadcast both the prologue and that year's seventh and final stage.

The Cape Epic is still the only mountain bike stage race in the world that is broadcast live.

"Our investment in television over the years is starting to pay off, which would not have been possible without great partners and suppliers," said Vermaak. "A big thanks to Supersport and BigShot Media for sharing our vision."

In 2013 the Cape Epic was broadcast for more than 6 000 hours internationally, the bulk of that from highlights. According to REPUCOM, who are the market leaders in media analytics and the media analysis company used by the Epic, the accumulated audience during that time amounted to 132-million people.

A 52-minute documentary is also broadcast in many countries after the race. In 2014, the post event documentary has been revised to feature all aspects of the event, including the dramas that unfold in the middle of the field.

In addition to TV products, the Absa Cape Epic will host a Live Streaming production on their website. Not only will you see the emotion of every rider cross the finish line, you can watch the winners, watch their interviews and the awards ceremony after each stage.

*  The post-event racing highlights and the post-event documentary schedules are available on the Absa Cape Epic website, and will be updated as they are confirmed.