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2013 Ride with a Champ @ FNB W2W - Sipho's race report

29 Nov 2013

The FNB W2W Race is always a firm favorite on our calendar, not only for the amazing trails, scenery and slick organisation but also because we run our yearly “Ride with a Champ” initiative.

 “Ride with a Champ” offers the opportunity to ride or race what is arguable one of the best races on the MTB calendar with a pro.  But it’s not only about the racing, the relaxed and friendly vibe within the team both on & off the bike makes the experience a very special not to mention fun one.

 We are very thankful to have a number of pro-Athletes as friends who jump at the opportunity to help and support us. This year Cherise Stander, Max Knox, Dan Hugo and James Cunnama (who very kindly stepped in for the wounded but quickly healing Oli Munnik) joined us. Thanks to all of you for riding and to Oli for adding an extra set of hands.

 To complete the teams we had a number of generous and loyal supporters who very quickly took up the opportunity to “Ride with a Champ” in support of  

 This years teams were: 

  • Cherise Stander & Johan Roos
  • Michael Creedon & James Cunnama
  • Carel Vosloo & Max Knox
  • Michael van den Heerik & Dan Hugo
  • Andre Hoekstra & Di Thomas (Sadly Trevor McLean-Anderson was unable to join us due to last minute commitments.)

A huge thanks to Johan, Michael, Carel, Michael C, Di and Andre for joining us for an awesome 3 days and congrats on your fantastic results! Trev, we were sad that you couldn’t join us - we definitely missed you!

 2013 Ride with a champ team

Our 6th team to compete in the FNB W2W was definitely the most special, as it offered one of our riders Sipho Madolo the opportunity to race with his hero, Christoph Sauser. Sipho has dreams of racing pro and the opportunity to race with and be mentored by Christoph was an invaluable experience. Huge thanks to Susi for supporting and encouraging Sipho!

 Here’s Sipho’s race report:Sipho @ the start

 I’m Sipho Madolo, 22years old, living in Kayamandi near Stellenbosch since 2008. I joined the program late in 2009 I think was August if I'm not mistaken. Songo taught me how to ride a bike and how to race. I've been working really hard since then.  2013 I got a huge opportunity to ride w2w with Christoph Sauser, the Current World Marathon MTB Champion.

I trained with him in December and January this year just before he told me that he wanted to do w2w with me and he decided to help me with a training program and advice for racing, not just for w2w but to become a better rider.

It was a first time to partner up with the professional rider and do the big race like w2w. The challenge in the race was to ride with Christoph for the first time and try to win the stage for the first time.

 Day 1 started in Lourensford and finish in oak valley, 76km and just before the start I was scared and feeling so excited at the same time. Started little bit easy then after the first climb started racing little bit fast and sitting on his wheel all the time. Just before the Gantouw pass I got hungry so I was suffering after that and ended up finished 27th on day1.

 Day 2 start and finish oak valley, 68km. I told myself that am not gonna carry that failure of day 1, all have to do is to give everything I have. We had a good start, sitting there in leading group and Christoph got a puncture so I had to wait for him and at that time I had a hope that we still gonna win the stage, after the puncture we started to chase really hard and after the last water point he told me that we are in 5th place, then I got more confidence and power again. We finished 5th on that day and it was my first time to ride faster like that and I was the happiest man at the finish line! :) Stage 3 FNBW2W

Day 3 start oak valley and finish in Onrus Campsite, 73km. At the start I was talking to myself and say" am gonna win this stage, am gonna win this stage" we had a good start sitting there at the front and before the first water point I made a huge mistake of trying to drink on the flat and we got dropped. Then I was suffering in the last 40km, I was just tired. We finished 9th.

 We finished 12 overall, which is not bad at all. Was little bit sad that the race is over with no podium :( I learned a lot from Christoph in the past 4 days and I'm looking forward to the next race. Big thanks to Christoph Sauser for this huge opportunity and I am fully prepared to use this experience in future!!!



Sipho was incredibly focused and worked hard in preparing for his race with Christoph. We are extremely proud of him and know that with perseverance that podium will one day come! Keep an eye out for the special video Specialized that put together documenting Sipho & Christoph’s FNB W2W race. 

Last but not least, a huge & heartfelt thanks goes to Stillwater Sport, Michael and the fantastic team. We greatly appreciate all that you do for us.

 All in all a fantastic 2013 FNB W2W, we had a great time and are already counting down to next year! If you are interested in joining the 2014 “Ride with a Champ” Initiative – give us a shout!