Exxaro Jersey Winners to TransAlp
Azukile Simayile and Siphosenkosi Madolo are about to embark on a journey of a lifetime, as they prepare for the biggest mountain bike stage race in Europe, the Transalp Challenge. Riding under the colours of the highly successful ExxaroAcademy, the plucky pair earned an entry at this year’s 8-day race by winning the inaugural Exxaro Development Jersey category at the 2012 Absa Cape Epic.
Azukile Simayile and Sipho Madolo
The highly motivated 18-year-old Simayile said, “I’m very excited about my first overseas trip and riding the TransAlp. It’s a great opportunity for me to be racing in another country and gain more experience. I’ll be riding a 29-er, which I think will improve my overall performance as it offers more speed and stability. Exxaro has made of all this possible and I’m very grateful for this wonderful opportunity they’re giving us.”
Azukile Simayile During the 2012 Absa Cape Epic
His 21-year-old team mate Sipho Madolo adds: “I’m so busy at the moment as I’m writing exams, but I’m extremely excited about going overseas for the first time. I actually can’t wait and hope the time comes very soon. I trained hard, but perhaps not hard enough. I have to study in between, so I’ve been doing around 7 hours on the weekends and at least 1 to 2 hours per day of running or mountain biking. This opportunity will definitely help us in improving our times at next year’s Absa Cape Epic. From my heart, I’d really like to thank Exxaro, Songo.info and the Absa Cape Epic for their help in making this dream come true. Hopefully we’ll do them and our community proud.”
Sipho Madolo During the 2012 Absa Cape Epic
Simayile’s aspirations for next year are to complete Grade 12 successfully and of course to improve his overall position in the Absa Cape Epic. Madolo wants to complete matric this year and has high ambitions at the 10th edition of the South African race, “I want to win the Absa African Leader jersey at next year’s Absa Cape Epic”.
CEO of Exxaro, Sipho Nkosi is delighted with the progress of these two young men, and indeed the Exxaro Academy, “Exxaro chose to foster the sport as a catalyst for change by partnering with the Absa Cape Epic. Our goal was to identify talented riders, screen, train and develop them to be able to become part of the experience ofworld-class events like the Absa Cape Epic and now the TransAlp. I’m proud to say that we’re doing exactly that. By sending these two young riders overseas to participate in another world-class event, we hope to harness their talent so that they can eventually become real contenders in events such as the Absa Cape Epic.”
The Absa Cape Epic has had a long history of giving back to the sport and to the communities that it touches, dating back to the very first event in 2004. Race founderKevin Vermaak said, “Mountain bike development is in our blood. Way back in 2003, along with our sponsor partners, we supported young Nicolas Quitoyi and Patrick Majeke from Kayelitsha, to participate in the TransAlp. At the time, only one mountain bike stage race besides the Abse Cape Epic existed in South Africa. Quitoyi’s TransAlp trip was the start of a decade of development for him. Today he’s an experienced motor-mechanic at Audi in Somerset West, and he can afford to buy his own bike to participate in next year’s Absa Cape Epic – his 4th Cape Epic since 2004.”
“Ten years later, it’s incredibly exciting to be a part of the programme that is sending Siphosenkosi and Azukile to participate in the TransAlp again. As Songo.info riders, they set themselves a goal in August last year when the Exxaro MTB Academy was announced, and today they’re receiving the reward for achieving their goal. Theyalways dreamt of standing next to their mentor and trainer, Christoph Sauser, on the podium and it became a reality at this year’s Absa Cape Epic. I’d like to wish them all the best of luck in Germany and to do South Africa proud on their mountain bikes,”Vermaak concluded.