WHEEL SUCCEED: Stellenbosch University rector Professor Wim de Villiers (middle) with, from left, Sandiso Xetu, Bongani Bhusakwe, Unathi Msophi, Thando Ntuthu, Songezo Luwaca, Geo Erasmus, Baphelele Mbombo and Zola Ngxakeni. Erasmus is a Stellenbosch University student. The other riders are from Kayamandi and part of the BMT Racing Team. 
Picture: Stefan Els
Cape Town - With the Cape Town Cycle Tour just three days away, seven cyclists from Kayamandi in Stellenbosch will tackle it as part of the #Maties100 group to mark Stellenbosch University’s (SU) centenary this year and raise funds for student bursaries.

“It is an honour for us to be part of this initiative. We aim to finish the race in a good time to show what can be done,” said team manager Unathi Msophi.

Msophi said cycling had been a really big help for the team’s members. Besides competing together, they were also friends who grew up together in Kayamandi.

The team practise daily and frequently participate in big cycling events, such as the Cape Epic.

SU’s campus health service provides sports medicine and pre-event screening services to them.

“Cycling is a great escape from the circumstances we face, and has opened many doors for us. We started in the intermediate phase, moved on to the development stage and now we are professional riders,” Msophi said.

The team will be cycling with SU rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Wim de Villiers, and a large contingent of staff members, students, alumni and friends of the university.

In total, 63 cyclists have signed up to ride the world’s largest timed cycle race under the #Maties100 banner. The funds raised by means of entry fees and donations from the public will go towards bursaries.

“Higher education is the youth’s gateway to the future. We welcome the recent announcement of increased state funding for students, but there is still a great need for bursaries,” De Villiers said.

The seven cyclists form part of a racing team attached to the BMT Bike Shop of SU alumnus Chris Norton, located in Dorp Street, Stellenbosch.

With Norton’s help, some of the team members have secured jobs and are furthering their studies.

“We had to work our way up, but now I can confidently say we are ready for the Cape Town Cycle Tour,” said team coach Thando Ntuthu.

To donate to #Maties100 and boost the bursary fund, visit http://bit.ly/ Maties100

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Cape Argus