A great career, the will to win, a Spanish heart and the unceasing wish to ride and have fun with a constant big smile. That’s what Purito and José Hermida have in common, two giants of the cycling world, both of whom are riding together at the 14th edition of the Absa Cape Epic from 19th until 26th March in South Africa.

One was a professional climber of the road cycling peloton, with a rich palmares of podiums and victories in the WorldTour. He took top spot in the UCI world rankings in 2010, 2012 and 2013, and seventh at last year’s Tour de France. He is Joaquim Rodriguez, also known as Purito, a nickname born from the early years of his cycling story, when he would pass his teammates on a small climb without much effort while pretending to smoke a cigar.

All participants of the Absa Cape Epic can now rely on SCICON® for the support they need to transport their bikes safely to South Africa, to concentrate in the remarkable challenge of participating in the world’s largest mountain bike stage race.

They both said “stop” respectively to the UCI World Championship and the cross-country World Cup racing last year and began a new career in their new teams, Bahrain Merida and Merida. José Hermida will still race at some world-championship marathon events and they both are giving fundamental support to each team, as ambassadors and cycling experts.

Their coming together for the biggest MTB race event in the world saw the creation of the Merida Factory Racing team. The two team up for the Absa Cape Epic, where you can breathe the pure MTB spirit at the international event, open to pros and amateur riders alike.

Purito is primarily a friend. We have trained together for years. We share the same joy of life, we always chat, laugh and joke a lot. This mood has always helped us to face challenges and any stressful moments in our professional careers. I feel at home at the Absa Cape Epic and I’m happy to compete and have fun with my new teammate. The Cape Epic is the Tour de France of MTB, it’s a long and hard race. We will fully enjoy it.

Said Hermida

Riding a bike is my life. After retiring from professional cycling, all that I want is to enjoy riding my bike and have fun. I have always enjoyed the MTB and I like the great atmosphere of the MTB events, as I found at my first race in Andalusia with José. I’m sure the Absa Cape Epic will be a great experience, immersed into nature with international MTB champions. It won’t be easy, but we are ready to fight together and to give our best at the highest level.

Said Purito



SCICON®, sponsor of the Absa Cape Epic and of the Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team, is proud to support the Merida Factory Racing teammates with the new AeroComfort MTB 3.0 TSA and the Race Rain bag. Purito and José Hermida are travelling to South Africa with their own customized bags that feature a special and nice design, in harmony with their playful characters, distinguished by contagious laughs.

I love conserving my mountain bikes, some of them are still untouched from the most important races of my career. It is very important to me to protect my bikes. Travelling with my SCICON® AeroComfort MTB 3.0 TSA bike bag before and after any race is fantastic! I truly suggest it to any bike traveler.

José Hermida commented

I really like the design and the customization of my SCICON® AeroComfort MTB 3.0 TSA bike bag. I have already enjoyed travelling with my “full red” AeroComfort Road 3.0 TSA designed for Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team. But now I have my personal and distinctive bike bag too. The Race Rain bag is also customized and I find it really useful. It is a “clever bag” that lets me stay organized for any ride and race.

Purito added.


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