The Ironman Foundation announced today that the 2018 IMF Mountain Bike Team at the 2018 Absa Cape Epic will be led by 2014 Ironman World Champion and two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion triathlete, Sebastian Kienle, and Ben Hoffman, six-time Ironman Champion and Ironman World Championship podium finisher. The Ironman Foundation will have a total of three teams participating in the Absa Cape Epic, the world’s premiere mountain bike stage race, being held on March 18-25.
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After 10 years in the professional triathlon circuit it was time to change something to keep things interesting. Some of you might know that I've always been a big fan of MTB (on the bike and in front of the screen…). I've always dreamed to ride the @capeepic (a MTB stage race over 658k in eight stages). Thanks to the invitation from the @im_foundation , I got this opportunity earlier than expected. My partner in crime is @bhoffmanracing aka "The Hoff" aka "Capain America" aka "The Calf" since he got me into this, he hopefully successfully (that means in one piece) leads our team out of this. #capeepic #noshortcuts #TeamIMF 📷: Shane Harrison
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Mixing it up for the first race of 2018! Very excited to announce that @sebastiankienle and I will be teaming up to take on the Absa @capeepic as part of the @im_foundation Team. I am thrilled to join Sebi as we take our endurance to the dirt in this premiere mountain bike stage race. Follow us and the Ironman Foundation in South Africa this March 18th-25th.. it will certainly be EPIC! #teamIMF #capeepic #teamwork #dirtendurance #📸 Ben and Sebi: @michael_rauschendorfer Ben: @iamspecialized_tri Sebi: @xterraoffroad Learn more: link in bio
Joining Kienle and Hoffman will be U.S. Pro Mountain Bikers Kelly Megelky and Josh Bezecny, who race for Team Honey Stinger/Bontrager Mountain Bike Team, and South African Age-Group athletes Harold Myberg and Chris Vermuelen. These three teams will compete against 650 two-person teams of professional and age-group mountain bikers from around the world.
“I have followed the Absa Cape Epic mountain bike race for many years,” said Kienle. “Having the chance to race amongst the world’s best mountain bikers is something I am really looking forward to. Cape Epic is similar to Ironman, in that it is an adventure and competition at the same time that challenges you beyond your limits. While I love being challenged in different ways, this is something completely different. I am excited to share this experience with Ben and be a part of helping those in need.”
“This is great news,” said Kevin Vermaak, founder of the Absa Cape Epic. “To have Ironman champions cross over to the sport of mountain biking is very exciting. Sebastian and Ben will add another element of competition to our field of racers and we wish them the best of luck!”
To support The Ironman Foundation’s mission of creating tangible impact in race communities through grant funding and volunteerism, the athletes will focus their efforts both on-and-off the course. The Ironman Foundation and its team of athletes will donate a total of 225,000 ZAR to support select local nonprofit initiatives in three of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic host communities: Robertson, Worcester and Wellington. Organizations in these three communities may apply for grants from The Ironman Foundation, to support their respective missions, before the March 8, 2018 deadline at https://ironmanfoundation.org/
“I’m really proud to have the opportunity to race the Absa Cape Epic as part of The Ironman Foundation Team,” said Hoffman. “I am looking forward to ‘racing for more’ and knowing that my efforts will help to make a difference in South Africa. Leaving something positive behind in these communities is important to me.”
“Although The Ironman Foundation is primarily focused on making a difference in North America, we have a long history of giving globally and acting locally,” said David Deschenes, Executive Director of The Ironman Foundation. “Having the opportunity to support community initiatives in Robertson, Worcester and Wellington, South Africa as part of the Absa Cape Epic event helps us spread the mission and positive impact of the Ironman Foundation.”
Both Kienle and Hoffman have extensive mountain biking experience and have competed in many Xterra off-road triathlon races.