SA cycling star in city for Intaka Challenge

2008-01-31 00:00

Professional South African road cyclist and also the 2007 Tour de France champion Robbie Hunter (31) arrived in town this week for the inaugural Intaka Tech World’s View cycling challenge, which starts tomorrow.

Hunter, who last year became the first South African to win a stage in the Tour de France, said his cycling work ethic keeps him driven.

He told The Witness he was four years old when he received his first bike, a red Giant BMX.

“I just do what I do best and if this sport has made me popular and if one day I can be a role model to someone, then I am happy,” he said, when asked about his popularity.

Hunter started racing aged just 11 when some of his friends convinced him that it was a fun thing do, and got his first racing licence when he was 14.

Back then, he would never have believed that years later he would have raced a number of the world’s biggest six-day track races.

Some of Hunter’s achievements include being named SA Cyclist of the Year several times since 2001.

In 2006, he was part of Floyd Landis’s Tour de France-winning team. In 2007, he returned to the Tour de France as leader of the Barloworld team and won stage 11.

His biggest career achievements to date include winning stages at the 1999 and 2001 Vuelta a Espana and the 2007 Tour de France, the overall title at the 2004 Tour of Qatar, and the sprint classification at the 2004 Tour de Suisse.

Hunter is not the only top pro who will be racing in Pietermaritzburg. Four Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) ProTour teams will be competing along with seven additional international teams.

The professional racing field will total 15 international teams.

Subaru Southern Africa has committed a whopping total of 32 Subaru vehicles to the IWVC personnel and organisational teams to support the event.

A single race will take place each day from tomorrow until February 7, with a rest day in between races three and four.

The races start and finish in Alexandra Park, and move through the midlands.

“The excellent climate, magnificent scenery and sea shores are some of the reasons that KwaZulu-Natal is fast becoming the cycling capital of not only South Africa, but the entire continent,” said local Subaru dealer Howard Christie.

MD of Subaru Southern Africa, Teresita van Gaalen, said this sponsorship exemplifies Subaru’s investment in cycling.

nerissag@witness.co.za

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