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  1. Legendary commentator Phil Liggett will be honoured with the Bestmed Phil Liggett Tribute Ride from Pretoria to Hoedspruit this week. The Tribute Ride will see a group of 15 cyclists ride 160km a day from Pretoria to Hoedspruit, where the British television commentator, known as the Voice of Cycling, has a country lodge. ASG Events chief executive Wynand de Villiers said the ride had been initiated by Bestmed marketing and sales chief Chris Luyt after a discussion they had in July. “Chris is a big fan of Phil and he was keen to do something to acknowledge him so this ride has been put together.” Besides representatives from a few companies, members of the ASG-Bestmed women’s and veterans’ teams will join the ride. A former amateur cyclist, Liggett, now 73, was offered a contract to turn professional in 1967. Instead, he decided his future lay in journalism and he has forged a career which has seen him become the world’s premier cycling commentator. Reacting to Bestmed’s idea to pay tribute to him, Liggett, who has strong connections with South Africa, said it was a “bit of a shock really, but an honour indeed”. Normally an enthusiastic cyclist who annually clocks up more than 3 000km in the saddle, Liggett said he had not been as active this year. “I have to be honest that in this Olympic year travel has dominated over my cycling. “I’m way behind my usual kilometres so I will ride this week, but I suspect not a lot. The will is there, but the training is not! I will do what I can.” Like the swallows, Liggett said he always arrived in South Africa at the end of the European season to spend the summer at his lodge in Hoedspruit. His love affair with the country, he said, started in 1990 when he was invited to attend the Cape Town Cycle Tour. “I fell in love with Africa then and lived in Gordon’s Bay for more than 10 years. “I always wanted to buy land for the animals to enjoy and that prompted the lodge in the Lowveld where we are the visitors to their world.” A keen supporter of South African cycling, Liggett said he was humbled to be recognised in this way. “Bestmed have been tremendous backers of the sport in this country and I have had a great pleasure, as a TV commentator, to talk about this progress. “The company should give itself a big pat on the back for helping cycling progress so far in South Africa. I like to think we are very good for each other.” Liggett urged young South African riders to follow their dreams. “In the current climate where South Africa is developing their own star riders, they should aim to emulate them. Succeed or not at becoming a top pro is only part of the scenario. “Along the way, you will have matured into a great person and enjoyed a wealth of experience to help you enjoy the rest of your life.” He said it had been a privilege to witness the growth of cycling in the country. “I have seen the sport grow from 15 000 in the Cape Town Cycle Tour to 40 000 every March. “The evolution of a World Tour team in Dimension Data, plus a big growth in mountain biking and women’s racing, have all put the sport here on the international map. “I have had the pleasure of commentating on most of the big events and always feel an inner satisfaction when a South African rider enjoys success.” Liggett said he was called the Voice of Cycling by an Australian reporter in New Zealand in 1990. “It went around the world like wildfire and stuck. It is a more than flattering reference.” His many fans will be happy to hear he has no plans to retire soon. “You can’t hold off old age forever, but as long as I bring enjoyment to my viewers, I will hang in. American television have asked me to work for at least five more years, but that might be a bit ambitious!”
  2. French bicycle manufacturer Lapierre will become the official equipment supplier to the new Bestmed women’s mountain bike team in South Africa. Click here to view the article
  3. “The growth in women’s mountain biking was acknowledged by our title sponsor and a decision was taken to create a standalone squad,” said Owen Botha, principal of the Bestmed-Lapierre Factory Team, after today’s announcement. “We looked at a number of brands, but Lapierre suited our goals and long-term ambitions.” Bestmed-Lapierre Factory Team riders, from left, Sabrina van Wyk, Nicolene Marais, Azulde Britz and Lynette Benson at the partnership announcement. Photo: Supplied Botha, who also manages the Bestmed-ASG women’s road team, said they had a long history of supporting mountain bike and road cycling teams in France. “Loïc Bruni won the downhill world champs on a Lapierre last year and they are also the sponsors of the UCI ProTour team FDJ.” Botha said he was blessed with riders who had the ability to race both on and off-road and that the mountain bike team was the next logical step. “As a family activity, mountain biking is also in line with Bestmed’s philosophy of a healthy lifestyle.” Good2Go, the South African distributors of Lapierre, were looking to invest in young riders as they were the future of the sport, said managing member Craig Munro. “After being approached by their business manager Annes Britz, we forwarded a sponsorship proposal to Lapierre’s head office in France. “They monitored the team’s activities for a few months, were happy and agreed to supply the team with mountain bikes for three years.” Munro said that even after 70 years, Lapierre were constantly moving forward. “It is a niche product and they are always striving to improve. “The mountain bike has an electronic rear suspension that works off a cadence and speed sensor, so the rider can concentrate on racing while the computer sorts out the rest.” He said 10-time world downhill champ Nico Vouilloz was tasked with the research and development aspect of the suspension. “Our main objective is to create a partnership that showcases the quality and reliability of the brand in South Africa,” said Munro. “We believe the Bestmed team fit our requirements perfectly and the fact that we have a three-year deal allows us to grow our brand with them.” Botha said the team’s initial focus would be the national XCO series with marathon racing being introduced from April onwards. Their support partners are: Biogen, Ftech, Rudy Project, Land Rover, Rush Sports (Onza Tyres & Praxis Works), Dirty Hippo Clothing, NavWorld, Wintergreen and Good2Go.
  4. PREFERENTIAL ENTRIES OPEN TUESDAY- 10% DISCOUNT FOR 2015 RIDERS http://i2.cmail2.com/ei/j/7C/F3B/35E/csimport/BESTEMEDRACES2015editableJock.122914.jpg RIDERS WHO TOOK PART IN THIS YEAR'S BESTMED JOCK TOUR AND CLASSIQUE WILL BE ABLE TO ENTER FOR NEXT YEAR'S EVENT FROM TUESDAY 3 NOVEMBER 2015. Next year's Bestmed Jock Tour and Cycle Classique takes takes place from 15-17 July 2016. As a 2015 participant you are receiving this mail as we'd like to reward all our riders who took part in the event this year with an automatic 10% discount on their entry fee for 2016. Entries for the Jock Tour are limited to 500 riders and the Jock Classique has an entry cap of 800 riders. The 2015 Jock database has been loaded onto our on-line entry portal and the portal will automatically detect when a 2015 rider enters, and allocate the discount. Public entries for the event will open a week later on 10 November 2016. We are including two new categories in the Tour for next year with the addition of the 8-Rider Amateur Team category as well as the Grumpy Old Men category. These two categories have proven to be very popular at the Tour of Good Hope (sister event to the Jock) and hence we've made them available to the Jock as well. The 3-Day, 3 Stage Jock Tour (15-17 July) is open to all men's licensed categories (with the exception of juniors) as well as amateur riders in the open/seeded bunch who feel up to the challenge. The 1-Day, 3 Stage Jock Classique (16 July) is open to all licensed categories and open/seeded riders. Licensed ladies aren't permitted to ride in the 3-Day Jock, but provision is made for them in the 1-Day event. Most licensed riders this year opted to ride in the 3-Day Jock Tour, so licensed groups, with the exception of the ladies, will again be combined into one licensed bunch. GO TO WWW.THEJOCK.CO.ZA TO VIEW ALL THE EVENT INFO THE JOCK TOUR 2016: 3 DAYS - 3 STAGES - 334KM – 7200M ASCENT THE JOCK CLASSIQUE 2016: 1 DAY – 3 STAGES – 154KM – 2900M ASCENT WITH EVERY JOCK MEDAL WORN, AGAIN A CYCLIST IS BORN For further enquiries phone the race office on 076 621 1807 or email eventsupport@asgworld.co.za
  5. Finishers in the 2016 Bestmed Tour of Good Hope will be rewarded with a pair of Rudy Project Tralyx eyewear as part of a R3.5-million product partnership with South Africa’s premier road tour. Photo: Supplied The product sponsorship, which is the largest endorsement of its kind in the history of African road racing, will see every finisher in the five-day tour rewarded with a pair of the latest Rudy Project Tralyx eyewear. The Tralyx debuted at this year’s Tour de France, where it was sported by riders from, among others, the Lotto-Jumbo, Astana, EuropCar and Cofidis teams. With professional teams and events now catapulting South Africa onto the global stage, the Italian eyewear manufacturer has set its sights and support on the local market. Southern African agency for Rudy Project, ASG Sport Solutions, has targeted the high-profile, CSA-sanctioned Tour of Good Hope as a fitting platform for bringing the brand experience to a wider audience. “Much as Rudy Project represents the pinnacle of sportswear technology, the Tour of Good Hope equally represents the very best of South African road racing,” said ASG chief executive Steyn du Plessis. “The tour is set to become an iconic cycling event, which Rudy Project can easily associate with.” Starting on February 29, the race follows a challenging 515km cloverleaf route through the heart of the Cape Winelands. It comprises a time-trial plus four road stages for pro and amateur teams. Du Plessis said this unprecedented investment in South African cycling was testament to the fact that the Western Cape was fast becoming a favourite destination for cyclists from all over the world. “The Tour of Good Hope has captured the imagination of cyclists from across the globe, and with good reason. “The event has set a new benchmark in road stage racing, offering an array of different categories from elite all the way through to the Grumpy Old Men in one of the most beautiful settings in the world.” Du Plessis said the tour also provided one of the most competitive amateur team contests on the local cycling scene. “That’s why the Rudy Project Tralyx is the perfect fit as these glasses are revolutionising the face of competitive eyewear.” He said features included a light and flexible frame to ensure aerodynamic efficiency and a unique ventilation system to reduce fog and provide visual clarity in all riding conditions. “A comfortable custom fit for every wearer is made possible by the bendable steel core, which allows the front portion of the tip to be easily adjusted.” Go to www.tourofgoodhope.co.za for more info or to enter. Get live updates on Facebook and Twitter.
  6. Leading global sports brand Rudy Project celebrated its 30th birthday this month with the announcement of a R3.5-million investment in the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope. Click here to view the article
  7. According to executive head of marketing, sales and distribution Chris Luyt, cycling is an accessible sport for those who strive to live longer and lead healthier lives. By investing in initiatives like the Bestmed-ASG women’s professional cycling team and the new National Cycling Series, Bestmed is aiming to give the health and wellbeing of all South Africans a boost. // Photo: Supplied. “We are a nation that enjoys sport and exercise and we back cycling because it’s the perfect lifestyle and family-orientated activity,” said Luyt. The Bestmed National Cycling Series comprises six road classics and seven mountain bike races throughout the year and across the country. “We believe that sponsoring sporting events encourages people to exercise, which is a key factor in achieving and maintaining optimal health. “Having a year-round calendar of events is just added motivation to keep on training, competing and having fun on the bike.” Luyt said the sport tied in perfectly with the medical scheme’s four strategic wellness pillars: Be Happy, Be Active, Be Safe and Be Nutri-Wise. “To become active is the first step in being healthy and happy. Building exercise into your daily schedule helps to reduce the damaging effects of stress and maintain a good balance between work and play.” Bestmed’s partnership with the Cancer Association of South Africa and Incolabs furthermore promoted the message of staying sun smart and safe from skin cancer, he said. “From a Nutri-Wise perspective, you are only as good as the food you eat. In cycling, you need stamina and a healthy mind, so balanced nutrition is key.” Luyt said elite sportspeople like the Bestmed-ASG women’s team were ambassadors for a healthy lifestyle and represented values that the medical scheme promoted and to which the public aspired.
  8. By investing in initiatives like the Bestmed-ASG women’s professional cycling team and the new National Cycling Series, Bestmed is aiming to give the health and wellbeing of all South Africans a boost. Click here to view the article
  9. Starting at SuperSport Park, the classic is the first of six road and seven mountain bike events that will from part of the new series. Organisers of the 100km road race said they believed it had the potential to become the Jacaranda City’s largest – and safest – mass participation cycling event. According to race organiser Darren Herbst, the event presented a rare opportunity to ride the N14 freeway, which is usually out of bounds to cyclists. “I’m sure many cyclists have driven along this road and thought it would be a pretty cool thing to ride to Krugersdorp and back,” said Herbst. More than 3 000 road cyclists are expected to turn out for the inaugural edition of the Bestmed Capital Classic, which takes place from SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday, May 17. // Photo: Supplied. “We really hope that giving cyclists the chance to cycle this route, which they would never ordinarily be allowed to do, will make it something special.” He said the concept had been in development over the past four years but that it had all come together in the last 10 months. “Putting this event together has been a massive logistical task and we’ve had to get the cooperation of a number of area, local, cluster, regional, provincial and national government departments.” These include Sanral and the traffic and police services. Herbst said safety was their primary concern and that the closure of the right-hand lane to traffic would promote their efforts in this regard. “We’ll be marking the route off with over 2 000 cones, which we hope will help the cyclists feel safe.” In addition, he said, more than 100 marshals and the same number of traffic officers would do duty along the course, which features nine turns and then a long, straight run. “We’ll also have at least 40 motorbikes and 20 vehicles patrolling the course. Herbst said the undulating route would test riders regardless of their fitness levels and could prove to be a little more challenging than some would suspect. “A lot of the potential difficulty will depend on the wind on the day – riding back against it could create some tired legs. “The weekend warriors will have the chance to enjoy a great day out and take each hill one step at a time. “In the more competitive bunches, things are going to get very interesting, and being able to keep the pace high will be the order of the day.” The event coincides with the Pretoria Family Festival at SuperSport Park, which offers musical entertainment, food and market stalls for the whole family, all in aid of the Cancer Association of South Africa. A portion of the classic’s entry fee will be donated to Cansa and in return cyclists will enjoy free access to the festival. Although online entries have closed, riders can still sign up at registration, which takes place at Cycle Lab Fourways from 9am to 6pm on May 15 and at Solomons Cycles in Lynnwood between 9am and 3pm the following day. Entries will not be accepted on the morning of the race. For more information, visit www.capitalclassic.co.za, find the race on Facebook or follow @pretoriaclassic. Alternatively, contact the race office on 076 621 1807 or eventsupport@asgworld.co.za.
  10. More than 3 000 road cyclists are expected to turn out for the inaugural Bestmed Capital Classic in Centurion, which kicks off the road component of the Bestmed National Cycling Series on Sunday, May 17. Click here to view the article
  11. In a coup for South African women’s cycling, Team Bestmed-ASG-Multihull launched its official vehicle partnership with luxury brand Jaguar during last week’s Bestmed Tour de Boland. Click here to view the article
  12. The team’s Namibian road champion Vera Adrian finished third overall in the five-day tour on Friday, with her squad mates Maroesjka Matthee, Michelle Benson and Desray Sebregts taking top-10 spots. South African women’s cycling team Bestmed-ASG-Multihull launched its official vehicle partnership with luxury brand Jaguar during last week’s Bestmed Tour de Boland. Pictured here at Saronsberg outside host town Tulbagh are, from left, Kim le Court, Vera Adrian, Maroesjka Matthee, Desray Sebregts and Michelle Benson. // Photo: Capcha Photography SA track star Matthee followed it up with another podium for the team at Sunday’s Cape Town Cycle Tour. Team manager Owen Botha said, as one of the highest profile weeks on the national racing calendar, it had been an ideal window of opportunity to introduce the new partnership. “The beautiful Boland is a pretty place to launch the team cars, which handled the mountain passes along the route with ease and kept pace perfectly with the peloton.” Botha said the sponsorship, which was facilitated through Jaguar Daly in Potchefstroom, would include the use of two luxury sport saloons – the XF 2.0 petrol premium luxury model and the XF 2.2 diesel version, the most fuel efficient in the line-up. “The saloon is a real head-turner and complements the professional appearance and performance of the team.” Jaguar is also vehicle sponsor for one of the world’s top-rated professional men’s teams, Team Sky, which includes former Tour de France winner Chris Froome. The vehicle manufacturer worked with Team Sky’s bicycle partner Pinarello to develop the aerodynamic Pinarello Dogma F8 bicycle. Pinarello is also bike sponsor of the Bestmed-ASG-Multihull outfit. According to Jaguar Daly dealer principal Johan Roos, it was this natural synchronicity that made the sponsorship the perfect fit. “There’s a lot of synergy among the partners and we all strive for excellence.” He said Jaguar was pleased to be partnering with a local women’s team in particular. “Our customer profile on the XF shows a growing number of women, so it’s important for us to recognise this growth by engaging in this sponsorship.” Visit the team on www.teambestmedasg.co.za, find them on Facebook or follow @TeamBestmed_asg.
  13. Image credit: Capcha Photography This year the medical scheme has added the new Bestmed Powerade Sun City road cycle challenge to its existing line-up, which includes both road and mountain bike races in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Eastern and Western Cape. Race organiser Wynand de Villiers said Bestmed was the first corporate entity to see the value in a year-round blanket event sponsorship across all disciplines and in most provinces in South Africa. “They have crept into the hearts of cyclists by helping to resurrect events like the Jock Cycle Classique and Tour de Boland, which are co-presented by ASG. “Their sponsorship of these events in particular shows that they truly support the sport and that it’s not just a brand-awareness exercise.” De Villiers said the four-day Bestmed Tour de Boland, which starts in Stellenbosch on March 4, was one of the country’s few international road tours and aimed to develop world-class African cyclists. “This year’s race will feature a fantastic international line-up with multiple world champion Christoph Sauser heading up a strong Songo.info invitational team.” De Villiers said all of the top local pro teams had confirmed their attendance and that the field would also be open to amateurs across various gender and age categories. According to Bestmed’s head of sponsorship Sasja la Grange, the growth of mass participation events in cycling had presented the scheme with an increasing number of opportunities to get more involved in the sport. “So we could seriously look into expanding our sponsorship strategy.” La Grange said sponsoring sporting events was a natural extension of Bestmed’s business and that these provided a platform for encouraging people to build sustainable, health conscious lifestyles. “Bestmed is in a position to see first-hand how lifestyle is influencing people’s illness in South Africa. “As a strategy to prevent and control chronic illness and other illnesses, we decided to support sports development.” While many other companies had decided to invest in sporting codes such as rugby, golf and swimming, La Grange said Bestmed had opted for cycling. “Our view is that cycling is one of the fastest growing sports in SA and is enjoyed by professional and social cyclists. We especially encourage families to get involved in the mountain bike races. “We aim to grow by attracting a younger market for our cross-subsidisation model to work effectively. Cycling certainly fits our demographic.” She said Bestmed’s involvement in the often under-supported arena of women’s cycling was also starting to pay dividends. The team fared particularly well at the national road championships in Durban last week. In the road races, Juanita Venter claimed the champion’s jersey in the 35-39 age group while Monique Gerber finished second in the junior girls’ event. Gerber was also runner-up behind team-mate Michelle Benson in the time-trial. “We are very excited about their performances,” said La Grange. Enter the Bestmed Tour de Boland at www.asgevents.co.za before February 21. For more information, find the race on Facebook or follow@TourdeBoland. The eight Bestmed-sponsored races are: Tour de Boland (March 4-7) Jock Cycle Classique (July 19) Bestmed Powerade Sun City Cycle Challenge (August 16) Lost City Mountain Bike Event (August 17) Makro Cycle Tour (September 6) Campus2Campus SuperClassic (September 21) Satellite Classic (October 18) KZN Expedition Mountain Bike Race (November 8) Val de Vie MTB Challenge (November 23)
  14. Bestmed continues to expand its footprint in South African cycling through its sponsorship of eight races on the national calendar and the Bestmed-ASG women’s team. Click here to view the article
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