Team Spur will pursue a local and international race calendar that includes the Absa Cape Epic as well as the UCI World Cup Series in 2016. Both athletes will compete to earn national selection from their respective federations at the UCI World Championships in June and July, while James will also keep his eyes firmly fixed on racing in South African colours at the Rio Olympic Games in August.
The sponsorship deal also sees the world-class duo become ambassadors for Spur's highly successful Schools Mountain Bike League. The League has experienced tremendous growth in just six years – in 2015 over 10 000 scholars from more than 400 schools took part in cross-country races around the country.
"The Spur Schools MTB League allows kids to participate as individuals and in teams, vital for the holistic development of children," said Sacha du Plessis, Group Marketing Executive at Spur Corporation. "This year, the creation of Team Spur and sponsorship of James Reid and Ariane Kleinhans is the natural progression in our MTB development journey as well as an affirmation of Spur’s continued investment into the sport. Our objective is to introduce our many young participants to the elite athletes of their sport, who are currently living their dreams. We seek to build greater self-belief in kids across South Africa – with the right attitude and dedication, being a professional mountain biker is not only possible, but great fun too! It makes the task a little easier in that James and Ariane are superb people who also love giving back to kids."
Team Spur is proudly supported by Specialized Bicycles. Ariane will continue to ride Specialized's flagship S-Works Era and James the S-works Epic model. The S-Works bikes have been key to the athletes' successes over the past year and form an integral part of their high-performance goals in 2016 and beyond.
"I’m extremely grateful to Sacha and Spur for their belief in us and their investment in the great sport of mountain biking," said Kleinhans. "Not only does Team Spur allow me to take my racing career another step forward, it also provides a fantastic platform for us, as professional athletes, to inspire the youth to follow their passion. It truly gives a deeper meaning to my life as an athlete."
"2016 will be my biggest year yet as a professional mountain biker. I've finally completed a four-year BCom degree and I'm going all in!" said Reid. "My first attempt at the Absa Cape Epic as well as my qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics is going to take hard work and focus and I'm incredibly honoured to have the backing of a world-class brand like Spur in these pursuits. I look forward to engaging with the Spur Schools League and being a part of the youth development of cycling."
Oudtshoorn, Western Cape
(Ariane & James)
SA Cup Series XCO #1
Ashburton Investments National MTB Series #1
Meerendal, Western Cape
Dutoit Tankwa Trek
Koue Bokkeveld, Western Cape
(Ariane & James)