Nicolas Dlamini, Oliver Stapleton-Cotton, Clint Hendricks, Gustav Basson and Stefan de Bod, together with the World Cycling Centre Africa staff, travelled to Polokwane on Thursday 16 April 2015 to participate in the Annual Mayoral Road Cycle Race. On Friday morning they visited schools in the area to talk about bicycle awareness and how cycling can positively contribute to and change the youth’s lives. This falls in line with the Polokwane City Council’s Smart Mobility Vision program to create communities that “run, walk and cycle for life in Polokwane, City of Stars.” They have also invested in a 100 Qhubeka bikes to distribute in multiple communities, which will aid and hopefully motivate the youth to aspire to personal and communal change and prosperity.
Saturday commenced with a Town Parade (fun ride) with Polokwane municipality workers as well as local clubs’ participants. The group stopped at a bicycle shop for refreshments and a break where after they continued their journey.
The afternoon saw the various riders and staff meeting at Protea Hotels’ The Ranch Resort just outside the city for a game drive and a cocktail evening. Guests were treated to tame cheetahs, which they could pet and take pictures with; the cheetah’s speed and beautiful white lions were also showcased. Directly after the game drive, guests went back to the conference hall where they enjoyed a sundowner before the evening’s formal program started. An abundance of delicious cocktail dishes were served and each team’s manager and or owner were given the opportunity to say a few words alongside the program director, Mr Ramakuela and ultimately, the Executive Mayor, Counsellor Thembi Nkadimeng.
The race started at seven o’clock Sunday morning. After only five kilometres of the race, five riders broke away from the main peloton, in which MTN-Qhubeka Feeder Team’s Clint Hendrinks, Team Westvaal’s Kevin Patten, Team Europcar SA’s Ryan Gibbons, Team Abantu’s David Maree and Team Bonitas’ Shaun-Nick Bester. This was the break of the day. There was aggressive riding in the back which saw many attacks but only one attack at 27 kilometres into the race saw Nicolas Dlamini from MTN-Qhubeka Feeder Team and Bradley Potgieter from Team Europcar SA breach the 50 second gap to join the five leaders in front. MTN-Qhubeka Feeder Team, together with Team Europcar SA, made a committed effort to ensure the success of the break away while in the peloton Team Abantu and Team Westvaal chased the breakaway and the gap decreased to 30 seconds with 12 kilometres to go.
With five kilometres left of the race, Nicolas Dlamini launched his attempt at victory but was brought back by the four remaining survivors of the breakaway. Bonitas, still in the peloton, took the charge to bring back the breakaway in the dying kilometres of the race. In the breakaway, Ryan Gibbons sprinted to victory while Nicolas Dlamini crossed the finish line in fourth place with David Maree in second place and Shaun-Nick Bester in third.
MTN-Qhubeka Feeder team will be racing at the Tour de D’Urban on Sunday 26 April 2015 and the UCI Autumn Series in Pietermaritzburg this coming Monday, 27 April 2015.
Another member of the MTN-Qhubeka feeder team, Greame Ockhuis, participated in the Track Championships from 7 April to 11 April 2015 where he came third and received bronze medals at the Elimination and Keirin races respectively.
The team’s Eritrean riders have also been campaigning at the Tour du Morocco with numerous top ten places at various stages and will be returning this week to join the rest of the MTN Qhubeka Feeder Team in competing at the upcoming UCI Autumn Series in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal.
The team would also like to welcome a new addition to the team, World Cycling Centre Africa trainee, Tunisian, Ali Nouisri, as stagiaire in the MTN-Qhubeka Feerder team.