Words & Photo: Dante Mashile
Team Absa today announced two changes to the team ahead of the 2014 Absa Cape Epic. These changes come as a result of Andre Ross and Kevin McCallum’s withdrawal due to personal reasons.
The 36 year old racing driver and television presenter, Gugu Zulu, will join Team Absa in place of Andre Ross and Diepsloot MTB Academy rider Tsepo Nyirenda replaces Kevin McCallum. Known affectionately amongst friends as ‘the fastest brother in Africa’, Zulu will attempt the Absa Cape Epic for the second time. He will partner with long time friend, Hlubi Mboya.
Mboya says: “Gugu and I have been training together since I started my journey to the Absa Cape Epic, therefore the impact of the change will not be a drastic one, given that we have a solid cycling bond and friendship already. Andre was and will continue to be an incredible mentor and I would like to thank him for his time and energy. He will be missed.”
McCallum’s departure from the team will result in Clayton Duckworth taking over the mentorship of young development rider Tsepo Nyirenda, who too will now form part of Team Absa. The decision to pair Duckworth with Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy student was taken by the team captain Ernst Viljoen and the Absa Project Team, due to the cyclists experience with mentoring young riders and his ability in the saddle.
Viljoen explains that Andre and Kevin will be sorely missed by the team as they both have put in a great deal of passion and dedication and will continue to do so where possible leading up to the event. They remain committed champions of Team Absa and our chosen charity the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy, and I hope they will return for future races. “Partnerships are at the heart of what the Epic is about, and therefore it is important to make sure our teams are paired carefully to bring out the best in each rider. My decision to pair Clayton with Tsepo and Gugu with Hlubi will give each Team the best chance to complete this world class event”.
Team Absa pairings updated:
• Ernst Viljoen and Jan Braai (no change)
• Stefan Terblanche and Joel Stransky (no change)
• Owen Hannie and William Mokgopo (no change)
• Gugu Zulu and Hlubi Mboya
• Clayton Duckworth and Tsepo Nyirenda