Para-cyclists Reuben van Niekerk and Dane Wilson have been sponsored by Toyota for the Absa Cape Epic, the world's toughest mountain bike stage race, which starts on Sunday. They will compete as Team Driepoort Toyota.
This year's event takes place over eight days and covers 698 kilometres, with 15 650 metres of climbing. The race starts at Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville and ends at Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West.
Toyota South Africa is involved in numerous sponsorships, including in the Dakar Rally, the Comrades Marathon, the Cycle Lab SuperCycling Club and Cheetahs rugby.
Kerry Roodt, General Manager of Marketing Communications at Toyota South Africa commented on Team Driepoort Toyota, saying: "Â“For Toyota, the involvement with team Driepoort Toyota and the Absa Cape Epic is a natural extension of its support for the Toyota Cycle Lab SuperCycling Club.
'Paving the way'
We also believe that team Driepoort Toyota is paving the way for further development of the para-cyclists around the world and will serve as an inspiration worldwide."
Van Niekerk and Wilson have been riding together on the track and on road for a while, so they are no strangers. They have been following a strict eating plan and have been training together two to three times a week, if their busy schedules allow.
"We both work full time, which allows only time to train on weekends," said Wilson. "We both race on the track as well and will sometimes fit in a track session during the week."
Van Niekerk, a motoring journalist by profession as well as a South African Guild of Motoring Journalists jury member, will be competing for the first time. Wilson, who works as a project manager, will be competing in the Absa Cape Epic for a second time. He competed in the UCI Para-cycling World Track Championship in 2012 and broke the South African C5 4 000m record.
Looking ahead to the Epic, Van Niekerk said: "I don't really know what to expect in terms of terrain as I have not raced much in the Cape, but one thing's for sure, itÂ’s going to be tough. The Epic has a reputation for being tough, but I'm ready for the suffering."
Toyota's Kerry Roodt added: "There is no doubt that the Absa Cape Epic will be tough, but with thorough preparation, hard work and motivation, we believe that team Driepoort Toyota will make us proud. We wish them luck for the race and are behind them all the way."
Para-cyclists Reuben van Niekerk and Dane Wilson will compete as Team Driepoort Toyota in the 2013 Absa Cape Epic (Photo: Quickpic)
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