For the first time in the 27-year-history of the annual Kremetart One-Day Stage Race, Louis Trichardt has entered its own professional team to compete in the gruelling 175km stage race on 4 June against some of the top names on the South African racing scene.

The idea of entering a local team was adopted by the newly established Soutpansberg Cycling Club to promote the aims and objectives of Soutpansberg Youth Cycling – a newly formed club to promote the sport of cycling among the region’s youth.

Seen against the background of how much the sport has grown with regard to both road cycling and mountain biking in the Soutpansberg over the past few years, the time has never been better to put together such a team. In recent years, the region has delivered a couple of brilliant young cyclists, such as CP van Wyk, who is set to remain a force to be contended with in future. He is currently studying at Stellenbosch.

As for the local team selected for Saturday to represent not only the Soutpansberg Cycling Club but the Soutpansberg as a whole, who better than to include some of the town’s top young cyclists currently making a name for themselves in the cycling world. One of these top cyclists is Kombo Bere from Louis Trichardt High School. He was recently selected to represent Zimbabwe at the UCI’s World MTB Champs in the Czech Republic later this year. Other top names include that of Marco Roets, as well as those of youngsters Richard Lambert, Douglas Archer and Gerhart Meyer, who have excelled in the sport of mountain biking over the past few months. These youngsters, all sporting numerous podium wins in races at both local and national level, are all included in the team, along with two more senior and experienced roadies, Rick Coetzee and Jandré van Jaarsveld.

According to team captain Rick, they have set their goal to at least take one stage win during the race. “For the past two months we have been training intensively, following a rigorous training programme. In total, each cyclist has, on average, clocked up around a 1 000km in the training seat. This weekend will see the culmination of all our hard work and we look forward to the race,” said Rick.

Getting the team together was about the easiest part. Getting a sponsor for the race was a bit more difficult. Were it not for team sponsor Tac-Pulse stepping up to the plate, the team would not have been able to race on Saturday. Tac-Pulse, originally from Wolmaransstad, recently set up another tactical medical emergency response branch in Louis Trichardt. They were keen to get on board to support the team and promote their services. The team will be riding in the colours of team Tac-Pulse on Saturday. Not only did Tac-Pulse sponsor the team, but they are also the official emergency medical response team for the whole of the Kremetart weekend.

“We would like to invite the public to come and support these Louis Trichardt youngsters,” said Rick. They will compete in the elite men’s category, with their race scheduled to start at 06:30 on Saturday. Supporters should, however, be there at an earlier time to be sure not to miss them. Along the route, they can also support the team by getting onboard the supporters bus at a cost of R500 per person. (For the complete race programme for the whole of the weekend, including the schedule for road closures and a route map, see the Freewheel 2016 Kremetart supplement in this edition of the Zoutpansberger).

“From my side I would like to thank my team members, sponsor and supporters in advance for their hard work, commitment and support,” said Rick.