Ironman announced Thursday that it has purchased the eight-day Asaba Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, a South African event, which has run since 2004. The sale looks to be a continuation of Wanda Sports’s effort to move into the cycling events space. Wanda took over the Ironman triathlon brand in late 2015, fueling speculation that it may purchase large pro road events in the future.
“The Cape Epic is an iconic, world-class event that many consider the most prestigious mountain bike race in the world. This acquisition shows the commitment of IRONMAN and Wanda Sports to growing mass participation events worldwide,” said Andrew Messick, Ironman CEO, in a written statement. “We see great potential in the mountain biking market, and the Cape Epic will anchor a portfolio of exciting and extraordinary off road and dirt-based races.”
Every year, in late March, the Cape Epic attracts top European professionals and a field of 1,300 racers, organized in teams of two, to tackle the 700-kilometer race.
The Dalian Wanda Group, which owns Wanda Sports, is estimated to be worth $39 billion. Last year, it also purchased Infront Sports & Media, which works with a number of cycling properties.