Diepsloot MTB Academy riders, William Mokgopo and Phillimon Sebona were crowned winners of the Exxaro Special Jersey category after a thrilling 8 days at the 2017 Absa Cape Epic.

 

The annual mountain bike event, which took place from 19-26 March 2017, saw the pair finish 42nd overall in the competition.

In 2012, Mokgopo and Sebona raced in their first Absa Cape Epic as a team, finishing second in the Exxaro Special Jersey category on their first attempt. That was the last race the pair did together, before deciding to reconnect and race together again, only two months before this year’s Absa Cape Epic.

Mokgopo commented, “Phillimon and I decided to pair up and take on the Absa Cape Epic as a team after 5 years of not riding together. We did this because we wanted to correct the mistakes we made years ago, and we were determined to win this time, even though we only had two months to prepare. This win means everything to us.”

“I didn’t feel so well on the first three days of the Epic, I struggled a bit with pains but William kept motivating me to keep going. I feel like our partnership has been great, it felt like we were in synch with each other, we would communicate without even saying a word to one another. I’m so happy I got to win with one of the most hardworking people in the world of cycling.” Said an elated Phillimon Sebona.

In addition to Team Philliam’s win, the DMA’s Sean Baloyi and Luke Mashiane finished third overall in the Exxaro Special Jersey Category after winning stage seven. Clement Mabula and Mphodisa Bruce Sebopa managed to clinch a tenth spot finish.

Cindy Ross, Diepsloot MTB Academy General Manager said, “We are very proud of what the boys have achieved at the Epic this year. Never in our wildest dreams did we think when we started the academy that we would one day have our logo on any jersey or even win a race at a major international competition, but these boys keep showing us that anything is possible. We would like to thank all our sponsors for their continuous support and commitment in ensuring that our riders reach their goals.”

In addition to the R50 000 prize money from Exxaro to spend on education, Mokgopo and Sebona will fly to Belgium and spend eight days at the Bakala Academy, a research and training centre where they will do some cycling related tests and training. They will also get to spend some time with the Belgium based Etixx Quick-Step professional cycling team.

Mokgopo concluded, “Paying off my fees this year was one of my biggest hurdles. I don’t have a study bursary so to win the prize money is a big deal to me, I’m grateful to the team at Exxaro for this. The trip to Belgium is the cherry on top, I can’t wait to get on that plane. I look forward to visiting the Bakala Academy and learn more about improving my skills and performance.”

Absa Cape Epic 2017 Stage 2 - Hermanus to Greyton


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Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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