USN BACKS YOUNG SOUTH AFRICAN STARS FOR CAPE EPIC
South African Elite Cross-country mountain bike champion, Rourke Croeser, and his teammate, Travis Walker, have been given a boost ahead of the 2015 ABSA Cape Epic with the announcement that leading sports supplement brand, USN, will be backing their quest to be the top African team.
The Cape Epic starts in Cape Town on Sunday 15 March and finishes on Sunday 22 March covering a distance of 739km over some of the most challenging gradients and terrain. While it’s a significant endurance test, it also offers International Cycling Union rankings points for the Olympic Cross-country (XCO) discipline, which Walker and Croeser specialise in.
While their long-term sights are set on competing for South Africa in XCO at the Rio Olympic Games next year, the immediate objective of the two 23-year-olds is to show their versatility at the world’s most prestigious mountain bike stage race.
Croeser and Walker have a full XCO World Cup racing season ahead of them in the Northern Hemisphere summer, but their Full Dynamix team, which is Italian-based, didn’t budget for the Cape Epic, which demands significant financial investment and support staff for teams aiming for podium places.
“We feel that training for and racing the Cape Epic is great for our physical and mental conditioning and will set us up to be strong and fast on the XCO circuit in a couple of months time. We’re really happy with USN’s decision to back us. You either do the Cape Epic properly, or not at all. With USN’s support, we can race it hard!” said Croeser.
Team USN Full Dynamix will be aiming to be competitive in the African team competition, which, by default, should see them finishing among the top 10 teams.
“The gap between the African teams and the rest has narrowed significantly in the past couple of years. We feel it’s realistic for us to challenge for the African team jersey and possibly a podium on one of the stages if all goes well,” said Croeser.
This will be Croeser’s second Cape Epic participation. He completed the 2010 edition at the age of 20. He showed in 2014 that despite being primarily a XCO specialist, he’s a strong marathon and stage racer too, finishing second at the national marathon championships and winning the Isuzu Trucks PE Plett four-day stage race with Walker.
Besides winning the 2014 PE Plett title with Croeser, Walker claimed the Solo title and was second overall at the 2014 Cape Pioneer Trek, a seven-day UCI-graded stage held in South Africa each October.
“I’ve always believed in Travis’s ability over the longer distances and he showed last year at the Cape Pioneer Trek just how strong he can be up against a quality field on a tough course in pretty extreme weather conditions. From an endurance perspective, I’m in my best shape ever. I’m very excited about our prospects at the Cape Epic and we’re super keen for some hard racing,” added Croeser.
“At USN we’ve always believed in supporting South African sporting talent. As professional athletes, Rourke and Travis are still on their way up and hungry for opportunities. We see their Cape Epic participation as being a key opportunity for them and another chance for us to confirm our product is able to fuel world-class success at the highest level,” said Albe Geldenhuys, founder and CEO of USN.
Follow the Cape Epic progress of Team USN Full Dynamix on twitter @usnsa and on Facebook: USN SA – Ultimate Sports Nutrition.