What does it take to complete South Africa’s legendary Cape Epic?

Inside Sascha Weber and Jaco Venter's 8 grueling days of racing with Trek | Vaude

The Absa Cape Epic is often billed as the “Tour de France of mountain biking.” Like the grand tour, it is a stage race that combines stunning scenery and pomp with long, grueling days and devious climbs. It’s a celebration of a nation, taking place across South Africa, and the most-watched race in its discipline. 

In short: The Cape Epic is breathtaking. And Trek | Vaude’s Sascha Weber and Jaco Venter took on all eight stages from March 20-27 and not only survived the challenge, but finished 10th overall. 

Their journey was preserved in photos, and in a Bike Network segment about their race preparation that is absolutely worth your time, embedded below:

Cape Epic is raced by teams of two, with strict rules to ensure that teammates stick together. Weber and Venter struggled on a hot and hilly Stage 1, and sat outside the top 20 overall after two days. They clawed their way up the standings over the next six days, highlighted by a fifth-place finish beneath water-logged clouds on Stage 4. 

The result was especially impressive because Venter had broken his collarbone just five weeks before the race. He gutted out the ride, and now has an achievement he can be proud of for the rest of his life.

Trek | Vaude is one of the most unique programs in mountain biking. Team owner Bernd Reutemann describes Trek | Vaude as a “love brand” that wants to combine cutting edge science with unbridled joy for cycling to create one of the best developmental programs in the sport.

Grinding out a long Stage 5 | Photo by Sam Clark/Cape Epic

Weber is one of the team’s elder statesmen at 34 years old. Reutemann described him as Trek | Vaude’s “Capitano,” someone who raises the team spirit and serves as a guiding example for the team’s gaggle of promising young riders. He has now raced Cape Epic twice, and just completed his best finish yet, adding to a storied career that also includes a German XC Marathon national championship and an XC Marathon silver at European Championships.

Check out photos of Weber and Venter’s Cape Epic below, and soak in the atmosphere of one cycling’s most unique and thrilling races in any discipline.

Bike photos by Christian Kohlhausen. Race photos by Nick Muzik, Simon Pocock, Sam Clark and Gary Perkin of Cape Epic. Photos provided by Trek | Vaude.