- The American brand has a strong Cape Epic legacy, having won the first event. And is aware of its value for mountain bike product development.
- Defending champion, Matt Beers, will have a new partner for his title defence.
- In the women’s race, Specialized dominated last year. But will field two new riders.
Specialized Factory Racing has been using the Cape Epic as an R&D opportunity since the first event in 2006.
Switzerland’s Christoph Sauser won that first Cape Epic (his first of five), riding with Silvio Bundi.
Sixteen years on, the brand has amassed an impressive thirteen overall victories, completed by some of the sport’s most illustrious names; including Annika Langvad, Jaroslav Kulhavý and Anna van der Breggen.
New partner for the defending champ
Headlining Specialized's rider roster for the Cape Epic will be Matt Beers. The powerful South African will race alongside reigning XCC World Champion Christopher Blevins as Toyota-NinetyOne-Specialized 1.
Beers and Blevins will be supported by Tristan Nortje and the next British rider, Cameron Mason, as Toyota-NinetyOne-Specialized 2.
Blevins is aware of the expectations, partnering Beers. "Well, obviously he's the defending champion and hometown hero. I've heard Matt has an incredible engine and can just torch it on the flats. It's also quite nice that he's taller than me, which I don't see too often. So, the draft will be great."
His Cape Epic debut will also bring a lifelong ambition to fruition for Blevins. "After this race, I'll have competed on every continent but Antarctica, which was a big bucket list goal of mine as a kid!"
North and South American women's team
The task of defending the title which Sina Frei and Laura Stigger won last year, falls to the talented American, Haley Batten, and Argentina’s Sofia Gomez Villafane. The duo will race as NinetyOne-songo-Specialized.
Batten was the last rider to race an Epic Series event alongside the Queen of Stage Racing, Annika Langvad. "Riding the Swiss Epic with Annika, in 2020, was an unforgettable experience." Batten will be hoping to channel some of Annika’s Cape Epic wisdom, during the race.