A Sizzling Start to 2016 for Team Spur

Team Spur hosted a picturesque sunset launch event on Thursday, 4 February in Sea Point, Cape Town. It was an opportunity to celebrate the team and reflect on a fine first month representing headline sponsors Spur Steak Ranches and equipment sponsors Specialized Bicycles.
The event was about as far removed from the dust, mud and tears of high-performance mountain bike racing as one could get. Team Spur riders Ariane Kleinhans and James Reid cut impressive silhouettes in fitted shirts as seagulls wheeled against a blood red sun. Our pro riders were joined by support staff, sponsors, media, family and friends, as well as local and international cycling stars Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Jaco Venter, Christoph Sauser and Sam Gaze.
CEO of Spur Corporation, Pierre van Tonder welcomed Team Spur to its sponsorship portfolio while Spur’s Market Development Manager, Andrew Cronje revealed the proud history and impressive growth of the Spur Schools Mountain Bike League under the. In 2016 Team Spur will act as ambassadors for the Schools League and support its events. The League now boasts 10,500 entrants from over 400 schools across South Africa and neighbouring countries. In 2015 scholars competed in 48 events around the country – a huge achievement in just six years of the League’s existence.
Specialized Bicycles Africa Market Leader, Bobby Behan heaped praise on the pioneering Schools League, outlining the impact this grassroots cycling development program will have on future generations, as well as its position as a globally revered model for youth participation in cycling.
Team Spur Manager, Nic Lamond explained the team’s top racing priorities for the year: Ariane wants to add a third Cape Epic women’s title to her palmares and James is gunning for Olympic selection.
The stars of the show, Ariane and James wrapped up proceedings with an entertaining panel interview, hosted by RSAWEB Director, Rob Gilmour. It was immediately clear that while their priorities for the year differ they share a strong bond, an analytical approach to training and racing and a genuine enthusiasm for having an impact on the lives of budding young mountain bikers through the Schools League.


Kleinhans and Reid join new Team Spur

Swiss Cape Epic legend Ariane Kleinhans and South African Cross-country Mountain Bike Champion James Reid have joined forces with Spur Steak Ranches to create a new mountain bike team for the 2016 season.
Team Spur will pursue a local and international race calendar that includes the Absa Cape Epic as well as the UCI World Cup Series in 2016. Both athletes will compete to earn national selection from their respective federations at the UCI World Championships in June and July, while James will also keep his eyes firmly fixed on racing in South African colours at the Rio Olympic Games in August.
The sponsorship deal also sees the world-class duo become ambassadors for Spur’s highly successful Schools Mountain Bike League. The League has experienced tremendous growth in just six years – in 2015 over 10 000 scholars from more than 400 schools took part in cross-country races around the country.
“The Spur Schools MTB League allows kids to participate as individuals and in teams, vital for the holistic development of children,” said Sacha du Plessis, Group Marketing Executive at Spur Corporation. “This year, the creation of Team Spur and sponsorship of James Reid and Ariane Kleinhans is the natural progression in our MTB development journey as well as an affirmation of Spur’s continued investment into the sport. Our objective is to introduce our many young participants to the elite athletes of their sport, who are currently living their dreams. We seek to build greater self-belief in kids across South Africa – with the right attitude and dedication, being a professional mountain biker is not only possible, but great fun too! It makes the task a little easier in that James and Ariane are superb people who also love giving back to kids.”
Team Spur is proudly supported by Specialized Bicycles. Ariane will continue to ride Specialized’s flagship S-Works Era and James the S-works Epic model. The S-Works bikes have been key to their success over the past year and form an integral part of their high-performance goals in 2016 and beyond.
“I’m extremely grateful to Sacha and Spur for their belief in us and their investment in the great sport of mountain biking,” said Kleinhans. “Not only does Team Spur allow me to take my racing career another step forward, it also provides a fantastic platform for us, as professional athletes, to inspire the youth to follow their passion. It truly gives a deeper meaning to my life as an athlete.”
“2016 will be my biggest year yet as a professional mountain biker. I’ve finally completed a four-year BCom degree and I’m going all in!” said Reid. “My first attempt at the Absa Cape Epic as well as my qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics is going to take hard work and focus and I’m incredibly honoured to have the backing of a world-class brand like Spur in these pursuits. I look forward to engaging with the Spur Schools League and being a part of the youth development of cycling.”