Cape Mountain Bikers Ride in Swiss Epic

Zola Ngxakeni and Luyanda Thobigunya won an entry to the Swiss Epic due to their success in the FNB Wine2Whales.

Zola Ngxakeni and Luyanda Thobigunya won an entry to the Swiss Epic due to their success in the FNB Wine2Whales.

Cape Town, 26 August 2019: Two winning mountainbikers from Stellenbosch were in Switzerland taking part in the five-day international Swiss Epic which started in Davos last week, they finished 41 in the men’s category in a time of 22:08:47.

Luyanda Thobigunya and Zola Ngxakeni riding in the Fairtree Capital strip are part of the BMT Fairtree Academy and won the entry and trip to the Epic Series race by winning the Exxaro Category at the 2018 FNB Wines2Whales earlier this year.

The duo hoped to finish in the top 20 overall, but this was tough considering there is over 2000 metres of climbing every day.

Mentor and Manager, Chris Norton accompanied the team to the Swiss Epic and also competed with fellow team mate and Fairtree Portfolio Manager, Stephen Brown.

“I feel so excited, this is my first trip overseas. Cycling has brought me many opportunities to travel and has changed my life,” said Luyando Thobigunya.

This is the first international trip for both riders, who have done extremely well on the local mountain biking circuit.

The duo started in the last group (F) as they were unseeded and charged through the group to start Day 2 in Group B. Interviewed after during the race, Thobigunya said the route was very very tough with the added challenge of the racing happening at high altitudes.

According to Ngxakeni, the start of the race was very long and full of climbs.  “We didn’t let our low seeding interupt our riding, luckily we were really strong and we caught up with lots of people, finishing 51 in the men’s category after Day 1 and 41 overall,” he said.

Both mountain bikers work in environmental education at Boschendal, between Stellenbosch and Franshoek so the experience of travelling and being visitors to Switzerland will be valuable when they return home to their ‘day jobs’.