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Young stars bolster new team

There’s a new force in South African mountain biking in the form of the 10-rider strong DCM Chrome team, which has been gathering momentum over the past few months but which is now officially complete.┬á

The 10 riders on the team are mostly up-and-coming young stars and the team’s owner, mining executive Ian van der Walt, CEO of DCM Chrome, an international chrome and manganese mining business, has gone to great lengths and expense to ensure each rider wants for nothing.

ÔÇ£There is so much mountain bike racing talent in this country and unfortunately a lot of that talent goes to waste because riders lack the means to train scientifically, ride the most appropriate equipment and compete at events that offer high international standards,ÔÇØ explained Van der Walt, who is a passionate cyclist himself.

ÔÇ£Well DCM Chrome plans to change that by giving talented riders full support in every respect and making sure they ride the races that matter, both in South Africa and abroad.ÔÇØ

Brandon Stewart, Max Knox, Ben-Melt Swanepoel and Jacques Janse van Rensburg form a formidable quartet that’s part young talent and part seasoned class. Their priority discipline is marathon and stage racing, but Stewart, Knox and Swanepoel are all accomplished cross-country racers too, while Van Rensburg splits his racing between mountain biking and very promising road racing career.

Backing them are the top three male teenage racers in the country, Rourke Croeser, Bryce Munro and Adriaan Louw; as well as Justice Makhale, South Africa’s top black mountain bike racer, who is yet to achieve his full potential. The two women in the team are Yolandi du Toit, who is making a smooth transition from a successful road-racing career and Shannon van der Walt, a bright young marathon-racing prospect.

Van der Walt’s philosophy is one that embraces giving the riders the required tools and appropriate preparation and support to be able to reach their potential. Where necessary, Van der Walt purchases equipment to ensure the riders have the best bikes and gear available and aren’t limited by sponsor restrictions. The riders have a full-time cycling-specific coaching service, which uses Power Tap’s cutting-edge power-training system. They race featherweight Cannondale Taurine SL bikes with custom-built DT Swiss wheelsets, which take the value of each bike to more than R100 000.

The team has also hired experienced professional cycling team manager, Kandice Buys, who is regarded as one of the best managers in South African cycling.

The team’s race schedule includes the usual high profile South African races like the Absa Cape Epic and the National Cross-country and Marathon Series events. The team will also compete at major international events, including the Nissan UCI MTB World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, the Sea Otter Classic in California and the BC Bike Race in Canada, among others.

ÔÇ£We’ve had a good start to the year with a number of podium finishes and we’d like to believe we have a good chance of getting plenty more this year, not just in South Africa, but abroad too,ÔÇØ said Van der Walt. ÔÇ£Our team philosophy is all about nurturing young South African talent and we’ve got plenty of that in our ranks. Now it’s a matter of giving them the right opportunities to showcase that.ÔÇØ

Team DCM Chrome: Max Knox, Brandon Stewart, Ben-Melt Swanepoel, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Justice Makhale, Bryce Munro, Rourke Croeser, Adriaan Louw, Yolandi du Toit, Shannon van der Walt.

Owner: Ian van der Walt. Manager: Kandice Buys. Coaching support: Bruce Diesel. Technical support: Doug Paterson.

Team website: