Ex-Spain coach laces up for the 658km Cape Epic bike race

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Erstwhile Spain head coach Luis Enrique is back again in South Africa for the Absa Cape Epic mountain bike race in Cape Town. Photo: Greg Beadle/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS
Erstwhile Spain head coach Luis Enrique is back again in South Africa for the Absa Cape Epic mountain bike race in Cape Town. Photo: Greg Beadle/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS


Spanish football legend Luis Enrique will on Sunday line up for his third Absa Cape Epic, having finished the world’s famous mountain bike stage race in 2013 and 2018. 

This year, the 52-year-old is teaming up with his brother, José Enrique Sánchez Díaz.

READ: Cape Epic celebrates tenacious black women

The pair will join a host of international road cycling greats tackling Africa’s untamed mountain bike race.

The field at the Mother City race on Sunday will also include some of the European and Australian riders who lit up the Tour de France in their heyday.

Enrique, who managed the Spanish national football team at the last World Cup in Qatar, has long been known as a passionate cyclist. Since he quit after Spain was eliminated by Morocco in the last 16 at the Qatar 2022, Enrque’s social media posts leading up to the Epic race have suggested that he’s a man on a mission. His training on the bike and in the gym has been intense, putting him in good shape for the event.

In his playing days as an enterprising midfielder and forward, Enrique - who over the past few days has been linked with the Tottenham Hotspur coaching job - played over 500 games and scored over 100 goals for Real Madrid and Barcelona. 

READ: Spain coach booted out after Qatar World Cup exit

Enrique also represented Spain at three World Cups and was a member of the squad that took gold at the 1992 Olympics. 

In 2002, he embarked on what would prove to be an illustrious career in management. Before that began, however, he remained highly active, taking part in the New York and Amsterdam marathons, Frankfurt Ironman and even putting his surfing skills to the test.

Now, it’s Africa’s Untamed MTB Race that has all Enrique’s attention, and football fans will no doubt be clamouring to get a sight of their hero as he rides the Cape Epic again. This time, free of the pressures of international soccer. Regarded as the world’s premier mountain bike stage race, this year’s edition takes place over 658km from March 19 to 26.

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