The Gaborone Cycling Club (GCC)‘s top cyclers ,Seamus O’Neill and Angus Boxshall Smith, left on Thursday for Cape Town, South Africa, to participate in the 8-Day ABSA Cape Epic Mountain Bike Race, which starts today (Sunday) and will end a week later.
The Absa Cape Epic, now in its seventh year, has fast become one of the leading institutions on the global mountain biking calendar. It is the largest two person team stage mountain bike race in the world and still the only Hors Categorie (HC) classified mountain bike stage race to be added to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) calendar.
The annual race hosts the world’s most accomplished and legendary mountain bike riders.
O’Neill and Smith are entering the race for the first time and have been specifically training for the event over the past six months, and are hopeful of finishing in the top third of the field.
SATIB Africa Botswana Insurance Brokers is partly sponsoring the team, and the individuals are incurring the other costs themselves.
The media liaison, Peter Sekwale, revealed that the riders will be riding the new Gary Fisher Superfly 100 carbon 29er mountain bikes, which were specially brought in for the event.
An estimated 600 teams have come from all over the world to participate in this classified event this year.
International cyclers as Germans Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm, and Emil Lindgren will also participate in the race alongside other famous riders from across the world.
Smith, 46, who is also Managing Director of Wharic Construction, was Gaborone Cycling Club Rider of the Year for 2009-2010.
He has, in the past, won the Mokolodi Scorpion MTB race 2008 and 2009, the Wharic Challenge Road Race 2010, and came 3rd in Subaru Kalahari Challenge 2009.
He also won The Herbies Haven MTB Race 2008 and 2009.
On the other hand, O’Neill, 52, Managing Director of SATIB Africa Botswana Insurance Brokers and Chairman of Gaborone Cycling Club, has in the past won 2nd place Masters Category Sabie Four-Day experience MTB 2008 and 4th place Master Category MTB 2009.
The highlights of each race will be screened on MNet.
The riders will return home on the 30th March.