From our homes in the hills of Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, we're travelling to the Mother City for the next few weeks. First up on our calendar is the Nissan Trailseeker MX this coming weekend and then its the iconic Cape Town Cycle Tour. The MTO Champions' Race (a charity event in aid of Songo.Info) follows shortly thereafter, which leads us quickly into the season's crowning event, the Cape Epic.

ccs-62657-0-67457700-1488539005.jpg

Since January our racers, Nico Bell and Gawie Combrinck, have clocked up big kilometres in preparation for this important month of racing. To share our high-mileage pursuits with you, here's a quick season recap thus far: we've completed two high-altitude training camps; taken on the Mpumalanga Cycle Tour against the Pro road teams to finish within the top ten; raced to third place at the gruelling Tankwa Trek 3-day MTB Stage Race; and, even contested two rounds of the Ashburton Investments National MTB Series, with Nico in second and Gawie fourth in the series' standings.

Intended as a strong back-up for previous winners Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy in their hunt for another overall victory at the Cape Epic, our riders will bring considerable expertise and consistent performance for these international racing stars to rely on. The world's toughest MTB stage race presents a number of unique challenges to competitors, not only those at the front of the field but also the everyday heroes tackling this almighty event.

New Africa Developments - our team's title sponsor - has invested heavily in our team and the sport in general for 2017. Through the development, construction and operation of shopping malls throughout South Africa, NAD has found preparation and planning are key components to their success. This same ethos is channeled to the NAD Pro MTB Team: day in and day out, we plan every race and training camp to maximise the potential results.

Robin Houghton, director at NAD, says: "New Africa Developments is proud to be associated with athletes of the calibre and dedication shown by Nico and Gawie. Every time we speak to them, they’re back in the Mpumalanga mountains on some training camp, away from friends and family. As in business this level of commitment and dedication will undoubtedly bring the success we as a team desire. Our CEO Japie van Niekerk has a saying which is equally true for New Africa Developments as both a business and a cycling team: ”fail to prepare and prepare to fail.”

Nico Bell says: "We look forward to the month of March and we are happy to have the support of such great Sponsors that see the potential in us and give us the opportunity to showcase our talents against the best in the world in the most prestigious MTB stage race in the world!We hope to race from the front and provide support to Investec-Songo-Specialized and hopefully we can walk away with the leaders jersey along with the African Jersey!"

Racing with Specialized’s premier stage and XC racing weapon, the Epic World Cup Team dual suspension race bicycle, maintained to the highest standard by Bells Cycling, supplemented by Neolife's energy replacement treatments, and with Alan Hudson Motors VW for driving the team forward, the next few weeks will be a whirlwind of dust, sweat and many memories. Stay tuned for the action.