Cape Town – The most prestigious mountain bike stage race in the world gets underway this weekend and the Valley Of A Thousand Hill-based RMB Change a Life Academy will once again have a number of teams taking part in the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic starting on Sunday 18 March.
Two all-Change a Life teams will be taking on the multi-stage race that has once again attracted some of the best riders in the world. They will be racing in the EXXARO Development Category that highlights development riders under the age of 26.
“We’ve got Ndumiso Dontso and Luvuyo Siyasi as well as Sipho Kupiso and Bongumusa Zikhali riding in Change a Life colours,” said Dreyer.
“We will also have our senior rider Sthembiso Masango racing, partnering William Mokgopo, 2017 winner of the EXXARO Development Category. Sthembiso and William don’t qualify for the development category due to age restrictions,” Martin Dreyer added.
The pair will be out to challenge for the All Africa Jersey, a race amongst teams from Africa.
2017 was the first time that members of the Change a Life Academy MTB squad took on the ABSA Cape Epic and Dreyer saw last year’s event as an important learning curve for his charges, and the lessons learnt have been invaluable for them.
“Last year the guys didn’t get their team work right and with such intense days of racing one of the guys would always get worked over by the other,” Dreyer explained.
“They had to realise that they have to work together at all times and you can only go as quickly as the weaker rider otherwise you are going to suffer.
“We have spent a lot of time in the build-up talking about strategy and how to work together and I am looking forward to seeing how the guys go this year.
“If we can get a Change a Life pair onto the podium that would be a great result for us!” said Dreyer.
Having his entire squad based at the same venue is a positive as they can train and prepare together, ensuring that they understand each other well and can learn about each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
“It’s important that they compromise. They will all go through a stage where they are the weaker rider in their pair.
“We will have a debrief after every day so we can continue to make sure that the guys are working together.
“They put so much pressure on themselves and want to beat everyone but they just need to realise that this won’t happen against the best riders in the world,” Dreyer stressed.
The build-up for the Change a Life Zulus has been good and Dreyer has been with them during the process trying to keep up.
“They take great pleasure in giving me a hiding!” Dreyer laughed. “I try and make it as difficult for them as possible and get them to push themselves as hard as possible.”
Dreyer himself will have his work cut out as he is partnering the competitive former rugby star Jeremy Thompson in the Land River team for the arduous eight days of racing.