Setting the benchmark for women’s cycling: The Absa Cape Epic Stage 2

Today marked the 100th stage of the Absa Cape Epic’s 13 year ride. This is not only an important milestone in the history of the world’s greatest stage race, but an opportunity for our #SasolEpicWomen to reflect on the massive strides made in the Women’s category since 2004.

Although women have ridden the Epic since its inception, the category was given an unprecedented boost in 2014 when Sasol stepped in and sponsored the category – increasing the prize purse to not only match that of the Men’s category, but making it the biggest prize in women’s cycling across the globe.

This changed the race irrevocably, and over the last 3 years, the Epic has seen an increase in UCI-registered women riders from all over the world, and an overall improvement in the competitive nature and development of the Women’s category.

The competition was fierce on the route today, as the top four Women’s category teams rode closely together, constantly changing places right until the end, when defending champions, Team Spur-Specialized took first place.

According to Sally Bigham of Team Topeak Ergon, the increase in competition is directly linked to the increase in prize money. She says, “For women’s professional racing, it’s super important that the women are respected and given equal prize money, so we are really grateful to Sasol for that. It’s an important step forwards in women’s racing – recognising that we too are professionals, just like the men, and we are trying to earn a living from the sport.”

What is clear from speaking to the top teams from today’s stage is that the increased competition has made for a far more exciting race. According to Ariane Kleinhans, from Stage 2 winning team, Team Spur-Specialized, “Now we have such a competitive field! … That’s actually what I’ve been wishing for all the past years… and I think it’s only growing from here. It’s definitely thanks to the prize money [from] Sasol, and the Absa Cape Epic for their effort in the Women’s category.”

Can’t cheer on the #SasolEpicWomen from the sidelines in Tulbagh? Check out our website for daily updates, and join the ride on Twitter using #SasolEpicWomen.

For an in-depth look into how Stage 2 played out for #SasolEpicWomen, click here.




© COPYRIGHT 2013 Sasol in Sport - Epic Women