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Hunter spearheads SA side for Mzansi Tour
- Updated: April 5, 2013
A six-man national team has been named to race the inaugural Mzansi Tour cycle race through Mpumalanga and Gauteng from 17 -21 April.
The five-day five-stage event has a UCI category 2.2 grading and will host South African and international cycling teams. Veteran Robbie Hunter, a previous stage winner in the Tour de France, will spearhead the ASG team which will also include James Fourie, Gabriel Combrinck, Kevin Patten, Reynard Butler and Kyle Donachie.
The reserve rider will be Nico Bell and the team will be managed by Ian Goetham.
Hunter, who races in the professional Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda cycling team says: ÔÇ£This is really good for South African cycling. There are a lot of international people always wanting to race in SA, and there has been a lot of interest in this tour. This is the event’s first year and I am sure there will only be greater interest in it next year.ÔÇØ
Hunter is excited ahead of the Mzansi Tour and cycling in the ASG Invitational national team. ÔÇ£Some of the guys are really young and I will be playing more of a mentor role,ÔÇØ Hunter continued. ÔÇ£This provides good training for me ahead of races like the Tour of Italy. It is great to race for the national team and it is not often that an opportunity like this comes along,ÔÇØ said Hunter proudly.
Manager Goetham is excited that a national tour has returned to the South African cycling calendar. ÔÇ£This will give our riders valuable stage-racing experience. It is a great honour to work with the ASG Invitational national team, especially with an experienced rider like Robbie Hunter. Robbie has achieved a lot at international level and he will definitely provide great motivation for the team. The team is made up of experienced riders and youth.
ÔÇ£The riders will be at a good level of fitness as they have just came out of events like the national championships as well as the TRAC Tour. We will definitely be looking to finish high up on the GC (general classification) and an advantage is that the riders know the terrain. With my experience from our success at the Tour of Rwanda, it will be vital to function as a team and work together to get the best possible results.ÔÇØ
Cycling SA also thanked ASG as well as USN, Subaru South Africa, Garmin SA and Mark2 sports range for their involvement in making the tour a possibility.