Sponsors name star-studded team for Cape Epic cycle race | SASCOC - SASCOC

Sponsors name star-studded team for Cape Epic cycle race

Absa, race sponsors of the gruelling Cape Epic, have announced their new team of 10 riders for the 2014 edition of the Western Cape race.

Ernst ÔÇ£The BossÔÇØ Viljoen will lead the team once again, partnered with first-time Absa Cape Epic rider and media personality, Liezel van der Westhuizen. South African rugby legends and former Springboks, Joel Stransky and Stefan Terblanche, will also make a formidable pair.

The promising young William Mokgopo, who recently represented South Africa at the UCI MTB World Championships and who has twice before completed the Absa Cape Epic (2012, 2013), will be partnered with SuperSport and Metro FM Sports Presenter, Owen Hannie, who has successfully completed the race three times (2005, 2009, 2013).

Actress Hlubi Mboya will be taking on the race for the first time in an attempt to inspire young black South African females to pursue their dreams and overcome their own obstacles. She will be partnered with investment banker Andr├® Ross who will be looking to complete his fourth Absa Cape Epic in 2014.

Last, but not least, Clayton Duckworth joins the team for a third time (2012, 2013), partnered with sports writer Kevin McCallum, who is back to join Team Absa for a second time (2012).

Lynn Naude, Absa General Manager for Sponsorships and Events, says: ÔÇ£Team Absa is an integral part of our Absa Cape Epic sponsorship; each year we nominate this group of ambassadors to represent us at the race and to drive our citizenship initiatives. We select a combination of experienced and ‘newbie’ riders to ensure the successful completion of the race by the whole team.ÔÇØ

Absa identified the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy (DMBA) as the nominated charity for 2014 as a natural extension of the volunteer work of Ross and a number of other Absa staff. Based at Northern Farm in Johannesburg, the non-profit organisation was started six years ago and is run purely on a volunteer and fundraising basis.  The project provides a platform to expose the youth of Diepsloot to the sport of mountain biking, to enhance their education through mathematics and English tutoring and to impart life skills to the community.

By partnering with the DMBA, the fundraising initiatives of Team Absa will significantly raise the profile of the project and enable them to expand their reach into the surrounding communities. The sponsor will drive an additional generation of funds for the DMBA by encouraging its employees and the public to donate their time, money or skills to the project.

Absa has also committed to awarding one Cape Epic entry a year to the DMBA for two promising young riders to have the opportunity to participate in the race and significantly boost their exposure to professional mountain biking. In a further partnership, They have joined forces with Cycle Lab to provide a scholarship for two hopeful mechanics from the DMBA to shadow the Cycle Lab professionals on site at the Absa Cape Epic. This undertaking will also facilitate potential employment opportunities between Cycle Lab and the DMBA.

Naude explains: ÔÇ£Team Absa has always been our way of championing the human spirit at the Cape Epic. Every year we see ordinary people put their bodies on the line for a cause greater than themselves. For 2014 and the years beyond, we hope to intensify the impact of Team Absa’s efforts as well as that of our own as the title sponsor of the Cape Epic. We aim to leave a lasting legacy as we bring hope to the community of Diepsloot and empower the next generation with the skills they need to prosper.ÔÇØ

The Absa Cape Epic will take place from 23-30 March.

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