South Africa's top professional road cycling teams will face one of their toughest tests yet in the newly launched Bestmed Jock Tour, which starts at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on July 17. Participants in the three-day tour of Mpumalanga, which is presented by ASG, will cover 299km and ascend over 7 200m as they vie for their share of the R100 000 prize purse. The tour culminates with the iconic Jock Cycle Classique route, which is widely accepted as South Africa's toughest single-day cycling challenge. According to tour director Hendrik Wagener, the event is a challenging and undulating one that offers very little respite between the big mountain passes. "Overall, this is a tough tour and definitely not one for the sprinters," he said. At no point can you sit and relax." Wagener said he expected all-rounders and climbers to come to the fore and named Bonitas's 2014 Bestmed Jock Cycle Classique winner JC Nel and EuropcarSA's Willie Smit, who won last month's Kremetart stage race, as riders to watch. They will face strong challenges from the likes of Abantu's HB Kruger, who achieved a top-five finish at the renamed Tour of Good Hope this year, and the MTN-Qhubeka feeder team, albeit without the services of some of their East African climbers. He said smaller teams such as Westvaal, Altech-Autopage, Rand Water-Velokhaya and the U23 Pretoria Box squad could mix things up in the peloton and keep the racing interesting. "We've also got our Nelspruit locals Nico Bell and Gawie Combrinck, who regularly train on these routes and have been doing well on the national mountain biking circuit this year." Combrinck won the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c alongside former roadie Johann Rabie in May, and finished first ahead of Bell in the recent national cross-country championships. The Jock Tour starts off with a 27km individual time-trial from Nelspruit to Kaapsehoop. At 140km, the second stage from Nelspruit to White River, Sabie and back . . .
On Saturday, Jeep Team’s Hank McGregor proved his world champion class yet again, cruising to victory ahead of the world’s top surfski paddlers at the Mauritius Ocean Classic – the second title race of the 2015 World Surfski Series. After narrowly missing out on top podium in the first title race of the series – the Molokai Surfski World Championships– McGregor was out in full force at Saturday’s race, claiming the title in 1h13m02s, ahead of Australia’s Cory Hill (Molokai Championship winner) in 1h13m34s, with Michael Booth (Australia) in third (1h13m54s). Fellow South African and Durban local, Matthew Bouman, finished fourth (1h14m18s), with Cape Town’s Dawid Mocké in fifth (1h15m04s). Jeep Team’s Barry Lewin placed ninth in 1h19m11s. Other Jeep Team news… Jeep Team’s Dylan Rebello (MTB athlete) and Michael Lord (Multisport athlete) are currently in Knysna taking part in the Big5 Sport Challenge Lite, which forms part of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival. The Big5 Lite, running from 4 to 12 July,offers athletes a range of sports disciplines to choose from, including MTB, road cycling, swimming, paddling, trail and road running. All Lite athletes must compete in three of seven events in order to complete the challenge. Over the weekend, Lord placed 4th in the 50-km Momentum Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour MTB Race and 5th in the 1.6-km Knysna Dragons Lagoon Mile Swim.On Saturday, Rebello placed 5th in the 80-km Momentum Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour. Multisport Another success for Jeep Team’s riding multisport star,Mikaela Jonsson, saw her win Silver in category (18 – 19 Women) at theSouth African Duathlon Championships, which took place on Saturday in Bloemfontein. Jonsson finished the race (consisting of a 5km run; 20km cycle; and 2.5km run) in 1h16m, just behind first-placed Madelaine le Roux. BMX Jeep Team’s youngest athlete, Alex Dolman (15), competed in rounds four, five and six of the 2015 BMX National Age Group . . .
A determined Bestmed-Shukuma Madibaz cycling team held many of the larger squads at bay to take the silver medal in the team classification at the University Sport South Africa competition in Stellenbosch last week. The Western Cape institutions dominated the national student championship, with hosts Maties claiming the overall victory and the University of Cape Town rounding out the podium. Madibaz team captain Marinus Prinsloo and teammate Christian van Aardt did NMMU proud with their selection to the national squad for the world student games. Despite being the 2014 titleholders, the NMMU riders were at a numerical disadvantage from the start of the three-day road tour. "We went into the tour as defending champions and never would have thought that we would get the results we did with only four riders compared to the other universities who had up to seven," said Prinsloo, whose young team also included Matthew Hayter, Van Aardt and Shane Kemp. "Our goal was to try and podium but we knew it would be a tall order as we were racing teams double our size and with much more racing experience," he said. Prinsloo said both Maties and UCT had fielded full squads comprising a number of riders who also cycled for professional teams. The tour kicked off with a 70km road stage on the Lady Loch circuit in Wellington. The Madibaz were looking good until the third lap, when Van Aardt crashed heavily as he crossed the line at the first sprint prime. "It was at this point that I once again realised why I love student champs so much, as the entire bunch then sat up and waited for Christiaan to return," said Prinsloo. "This showed true sportsmanship." The NMMU team recovered well to go into the afternoon's individual time-trial in first place in the team classification. "The guys showed guts as the entire team rode brilliant times despite our smaller team," he said. Unfortunately, the Madibaz slipped into second after stage two, as the 120km . . .
MEC John Block of the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism recently accepted the trophy when the Kumba Skate Plaza in Kimberley took the honours as the Skate Park of the Year at the recently held Global Skateboarding Awards in Turkey. The state-of-the-art skate park was built four years ago and is home to the annual Kimberley Diamond Cup world skateboarding championships presented by Kumba Iron Ore, a business unit of Anglo American, as well as a community leisure park. The Northern Cape Province also tied with New York City Parks and Recreation in the category for public entities such as municipalities, cities or provinces that made a significant contribution in promoting skateboarding and creating social responsibility programmes to further the sport. The province has been invested in the Skateboarding for Hope community outreach programme for the past four years and has introduced the sport to more than 100 000 youth throughout South Africa. Accepting the awards on behalf of the Northern Cape Province, Block expressed the gratitude of the province. “We were very honoured to have been nominated amongst these well-established skate parks and huge cities in the various categories. We are obviously absolutely thrilled to have our efforts recognised on a global platform. Our association with the Kimberley Diamond Cup was driven by our youth and their need for social development. The fact that they embraced skateboarding so passionately and have supported this campaign so enthusiastically has definitely contributed to us winning these awards.” “As a provincial government, we will continue our involvement with skateboarding and help to spread the positive message amongst the youth of our country. We are also looking forward to welcoming the skateboarding world to Kimberley again from 7 – 10 October 2015 and invite them to enjoy the warm hospitality and incredible tourism offerings of the Northern Cape,” explained Block at the awards . . .
A new chapter in the history of South Africa's oldest and toughest stage race, the Bestmed Jock Cycle Classique, is about to unfold with the addition of a new three-day road tour through Mpumalanga from July 17. The traditional 154km one-day classic will still take place from Nelspruit (Mbombela) to White River, Sabie and back on July 18, but the country's top road teams will now push themselves in the 299km tour. According to organiser Wynand de Villiers of ASG Events, the new CSA-sanctioned tour will be an honest and exciting test of SA's best. "It's the only event in which these riders will really be tested according to the standards set by Europe's leading tours. "There will be nowhere to hide and the strongest rider will win the tour, full stop." Unlike the classic European Alpine stage races however, De Villiers said the Jock would present a continuous climbing challenge, with a total ascent of 7 200m. "There are very few flat sections, which you would find quite a bit of on the European valley floors between the mountains. Here, even between the big mountain passes, the Jock is still up and down." While some commentators had compared it to the now defunct Hansom Tour, he said it would be of shorter duration but much tougher. "For us, this is a way to provide more competitive racing platforms to help prepare our best local riders for the international circuit. "We believe road racing is back and stronger than ever and we would like to keep doing our bit to fuel the fire," said De Villiers. He said the tour would not be limited to the pro field but was also open to serious amateur cyclists who could handle the physical challenge. "It really is a tough ask of these riders and we would like to assist them in the best way possible to get to the finish line every day. The final stage, in particular, is going to be a war of attrition." A prize purse of R100 000 will be up for grabs across all categories. "We believe in . . .
Some of NMMU's most famous South African rugby alumni are set to gather for a once-in-a-lifetime legacy event in Port Elizabeth on September 3. The Madibaz Bok Banter dinner will bring together a constellation of Springbok stars from across the decades in celebration of NMMU's 10 years of existence, following the merger of the University of Port Elizabeth, PE Technikon and local Vista University campus. The event will be headlined by members of the 1995 Rugby World Cup winning squad Hennie le Roux, Hannes Strydom and Garry Pagel, who will share their experiences twenty years on as well as their predictions on the eve of this year's competition. They will be joined by former Blitzbokke coach Paul Treu, who led his side to victory in the 2008/9 Sevens World Series, and ex-Springbok manager Zola Yeye who has the inside scoop on the 2007 world champions. Madibaz deputy director of sport Petrus Boukes said that they had assembled a very knowledgeable and experienced panel, led by popular TV commentator Gavin Cowley, to discuss the upcoming World Cup in a chat-show format. He said the idea behind the anniversary function was to acknowledge the rugby players, administrators and officials who had an association with NMMU and its founder institutions. "All the alumni jumped at the opportunity to return to their alma mater and give something back," said Boukes. "As champions in the international rugby arena, they personify the excellence that NMMU strives for." He said the list of guest stars was by no means complete and a further "squad announcement" would follow shortly. With the first game taking place on September 18, local rugby fans will be able to get first-hand information from the experts. "Obviously, the audience will also be privileged to hear their hilarious and often controversial untold stories." In addition, guests will be able to bid on rugby memorabilia in an auction. Proceeds from the evening will be used towards building . . .
Jeep Team’s Dylan Rebello is proving his class when yet again this weekend, he took podium for first place for the U23’s and 3rd place overall at Race#2 at the Nissan TrailSeeker Western Cape Series, which took place in Grabouw on 27 June. Rebello completed the 70-km race in 3h28m48s, just minutes behind first-placed Adriaan Louw (3h24m55s) and Lourens Luus in 2nd (3h25m19s). Edward Best finished 4th (3h32m57s), with Nico Pfitzenmaier 5th (3h36m28s). Rebello, a former Junior African cross-country champion, has been in fine form recently when he finished 2nd overall ahead of some of the country’s top riders at the three-day stage race RECM Knysna 200 on 15 June. Said Rebello after the Nissan TrailSeeker event, “It was a super tough race and I’m chuffed to be back on the podium in 3rd. Thanks to Advendurance for another great event! Proud to be wearing my Jeep Team colours.” Other Jeep Team news Surfski Jeep Team’s Hank McGregor continues to dominate the KZN surfski scene, securing yet another victory this weekend at the Zurich Pirates Umhlanga Pirates clash – Race#3 of the five-leg 2015 FNB Durban Downwind Surfski Series. Having missed the first two events of the series, McGregor seemed intent on winning at Saturday’s race, edging out strong competition to claim victory in 1h54m28s. Matthew Bouman finished 2nd, Wade Krieger 3rd, and Steve Woods 4th, with McGregor’s dad, Lee McGregor, placing 5th. Said McGregor: “The Pirates Umhlanga Pirates clash is such an iconic event so it was great to come down and be a part of this year’s race. I took it quite easy on the way to Umhlanga and Matthew [Bouman], my dad [Lee McGregor] and I turned about a minute behind Steve [Woods] and Wade [Krieger]. On the way back I looked to push the pace a little more and it was nice to get the win in the end!” McGregor and Jeep Team’s Barry Lewin are now on their way to Mauritius to compete in the 23-km Mauritius Ocean Classic, which takes place on Saturday, 4 July. Known as one of . . .
The Billabong Madibaz surfing team claimed the overall team trophy for the first time in three years at the University Sport South Africa tournament hosted by the NMMU George campus at Victoria Bay on Friday. The Port Elizabeth surfers dominated the men's division, taking their fourth consecutive win in the three-day competition, while the women snatched a close second behind a very strong Varsity College outfit. Defending champion Jean du Plessis did well to finish second in the men's individual section behind 2013 International Surfing Association gold medallist Shaun Joubert of Stellenbosch University. In the women's competition, 2014 winner Roxy Giles once again surfed her way into the finals before handing her crown to Nicole Pallet of Varsity College. The Madibaz's medal-winning performance got the university's USSA campaign off to a solid start, as eight more sporting codes spring into action at the mid-year tournaments taking place countrywide this week. Surfing captain Scott Lenton said his squad had gone into the competition with a positive team spirit and it had been a proud moment to take back the overall honours. "NMMU has some really strong sporting codes and it made us very proud to represent our university and be the first code to claim national victory in a University Sport competition this year." While conditions on the opening day had been on the small side, he said the next two days had been "cooking" with swells of four to six feet. Lenton and teammate Merrick Fairall rode the waves into the quarter-finals, while Dane van Greunen made it through to the semis. Du Plessis, Van Greunen and Giles all earned selection to the USSA national team. "Over the past five years, our women's team have usually only had one strong surfer so this year we were very excited about the addition of a few new faces," said Lenton. He said that Giles had had great support from semi-finalist Inge McLaren, Tahra Uren and veteran Margot . . .
It is all about gaining prestige and bragging rights at the annual University Sport of South Africa (USSA) Golf Tournament. Numerous tertiary institutions from around South Africa will compete, and the talented 8 member Varsity College Golf Team’s angle of approach is one of determination - to ‘carry’ the trophy home. Says Michael Ryan, Varsity College Golf Team Captain: “We, as proud representatives of Varsity College, The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) and our sponsor mCubed, intend making new ‘divots’ and leaving a lasting impression during the tournament from 29 June – 03 July at the Port Shepstone Country Club on the KwaZulu Natal South Coast”. The course is a Par 72 course, with forest lining the front 9 holes and wind and water affecting play in the back 9 holes. When the wind picks up, this course is known for becoming exceptionally challenging. This is the 4th consecutive year that Varsity College’s Golf Team will be facing fierce competition from, among other, some of the traditional universities. Last year the team, which is part of the Varsity College Golf Academy, placed 4th in the B division, and 1st and 2nd in the C division and under the guidance of team manager (Jolene Mortimer) and coach Tyrone Twilley they are aiming for top shots during the tournament. Team members are: Michael Ryan, (2nd year BCOM, Sandton), Lorenzo Sardoz (2nd year BCOM, Sandton), Collin Campher (2nd year BCOM, Sandton), Shane Martin, (3rd year BCOM, Sandton), Shannon Naidoo (2nd year BACC, Sandton), Scott Heathfield (1st year BCOM, Sandton), Onkgopotse Nkosi (1st year BCOM, Sandton) and Clayton Mansfield (HCBPP, Westville). This is the 10th annual USSA Golf Tournament, which celebrates the growing interest in and the success of golf on tertiary level. Some of the participating tertiary institutions include the University of Stellenbosch, University of the Free State, Centurion Academy, Walter Sisulu University, University of Pretoria and Rhodes . . .
The NMMU Madibaz football team have been promoted to the SAB League following their performance in the annual Safa Nelson Mandela Bay regional league playoffs at the KwaDwesi football fields in Port Elizabeth over the past fortnight. The current Pefa champions went head to head with the 11 other group winners under the Local Football Association for two slots in next season's Safa-NMB SAB League, which kicks off in the first week of September and runs through to June next year. In their first fixture en route to promotion, the Madibaz beat Winter Rose from the New Brighton Football Association 2-0, with both goals scored by Claudius Sagandira. In their second clash, against Eleven Wizards from Kuyga, prolific goal scorer Kieran Koert claimed a hat-trick, while Zantsi Fuzo added the final goal to register a convincing 4-1 victory. The Madibaz dispatched Nodefa's Manchester United 5-3 in their last encounter to secure their spot in the SAB League. Having risen to the third tier of South African football, the university team's promotion is a confidence booster ahead of the lucrative Varsity Football tournament, which starts on July 20. "The Madibaz will compete against the top universities in the country with greater sport budgets, bursaries and established professional football network systems in their respective provinces," said Madibaz football manager Mark Tommy. He said the institution's success was indicative of a promising football programme but that it required co-operation and a joint venture with the private sector to build on the potential within the metro. "We are excited about the opportunities within student sport and the development of football in the metro. "We believe an academy would provide the perfect conduit to develop a football strategy that will eventually translate into an NMMU-based national first division side." Tommy invited relevant role-players within the private sector and non-governmental organisations to . . .