CAPE TOWN – Riders from an unprecedented 62 countries applied for entries to the 2015 Cape Epic and international applicants amounted to 58 percent of the total, race organisers said on Wednesday.
The most countries represented at the race in the past was 51, in 2010.
A total of 1 200 riders – in 600 two-man teams – take part each year.
Last year 37 percent of participants were from outside South Africa.
The lottery for entries to the 2015 Epic closed on Saturday night and the draw took place on Tuesday evening. Successful riders were notified immediately and have until the end of June to accept.
The race is oversubscribed each year and this year the 100 early-bird entries for 2015 – sold on a first come, first-served basis on the day after the 2014 event finished – were taken up within a couple of minutes.
“It was pretty much instantaneous,” said race founder Kevin Vermaak.
“A lot of people were ready and counting the seconds until they opened.”
Epic spokesperson Chris Whitfield said the early-bird entries sold out more quickly every year, reflecting an increased demand for an entry.
“As one of the two tranches, the early-bird system has been used annually since 2009 and gives riders the security of an early entry – and an all-important 12 months of training time,” Whitfield said.
Since the first Cape Epic in 2004, the race had been completely sold out in record times. After the 2005 event was sold out in less than five hours, a public lottery system was introduced and had been used every year since.
Of the total lottery applicants for 2015, 14 percent were women.
“Successful lottery applicants received an invitation via email to accept the entry and make payment,” said Whitfield.
“Unsuccessful applicants will receive an email explaining how to join the waiting list. Successful applicants must accept their invitations and pay the full team registration fee by the end of June.”
Professional and national riders can still apply for a wildcard entry and those wishing to support one of the official charities, can buy a limited number of charity entries. A limited number of entries are also available for media. – Sapa