Gone are former national champions, Ian McLeod and Darren Lill. Gone too is 2012 Durban Amashova winner, Johann Rabie. Also gone is 2011 Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour champion, Tyler Day. In their place are Clint Hendricks, Pieter Seyffert, Christopher Jennings and Willie Smit.

“Road cycling is heading into a new era and we’ve committed to that by showing confidence in young South African talent,” said Team Bonitas team manger, Barry Austin. “Road racing is a team sport and we’ve settled on a 10-man combination that we believe will produce the best possible results, both in South Africa and abroad.”

“We had a very good 2012, our first year as a UCI Continental team, which included a total of three months of European racing. It was the next logical step for a team that’s been so dominant in domestic road racing between 2009 and 2011,” said Malcolm Lange of Lange Sports, the company that owns Team Bonitas.

“I appreciate the commitment from the all the team members during 2012 and wish those guys that are leaving all the best as they move to the next level in their own careers. For Team Bonitas, the next level is growing our status as a team and we believe that this team make-up for 2013, under the management of Barry Austin, will do that and, in the process, create new South African cycling heroes,” added Lange.

Hendricks makes the move from rival team, Tasol GT, while Smit gets his first professional contract after being the dominant rider at the 2012 South African Student Championships and having been a stalwart for the Toyota CSA Academy outfit.

“Hendriks has a track cycling background and is a very aggressive rider. He got a couple of podium places in the United States this year and I look forward to developing him further,” said Austin, adding, “Smit is a young, powerful rider that came highly recommended to us through Nic White’s Toyota CSA Academy set-up.

“Seyffert is one of a handful of South African riders that won a race in 2012 but who wasn’t a member of Team Bonitas or MTN Qhubeka, the two dominant teams of this year. His stage win at the Jock Tour showed he’s a thinking rider. He’s a strong time triallist too, which is always a bonus to have on any team,” said Austin.

“I have coached Jennings for some years. He won races in Europe as a Junior and claimed the SA Under-23 road title. He’s been riding for the British Rapha Condor team as a support rider, but we feel he has more to offer and will be an asset to our team, especially in Europe, where he has experience,” added Austin.

Another relatively new rider on the team is former national road champion, Christoff van Heerden. He joined the team on a part-time basis in September 2012 but will be full-time for 2013.

Riders staying on from the 2012 squad are climber, Jason Bakke, sprinter, Herman Fouche and allrounders, Hanco Kachelhoffer, Luthando Kaka and HB Kruger. Kachelhoffer has been promoted to team captain.

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Hanco Kachelhoffer will captain the 2013 Bonitas team, which will be racing in South Africa and Europe.

Photo credit: Dominic Barnardt

“Team Bonitas has established a partnership with French team La Pomme Marseille that will kick off in 2013. This gives us a three-level system for our riders,” explained Austin. “The first level is South African racing, the second level is the French First Division with La Pomme Club and the third level is the Continental team calendar in Europe with La Pomme Marseille’s pro team, which, like Bonitas is also a registered Continental team with the UCI.”

For Austin, this gives him chance to rotate Team Bonitas riders on a constant basis, keeping them fresh and motivated and relieving performance pressure when needed, while also developing their ability to race with distinction at a higher level.

“Jennings and Bakke will be based in France for most of the year and at any one time, there will be two other Team Bonitas riders based with the La Pomme set-up, either racing in the French First Division or top tier races with the professional squad. We have great sponsor support for this initiative which we believe will elevate the team in particular and the South African standard in general, to a higher level.”