They are aiming to be very competitive at the ABSA Cape Epic in 2020, South African mountain bike marathon championships and all of the major multi day stage races round the country.
The team is financially backed by the premium South African carbon fibre bicycle wheels manufacturer, Darkhorse Wheels.
“I think that we had an unbelievable 2019 season racking up 44 victories. For the 2020 season we have even bigger goals and aspirations.” Said Bester.
The signings of Team Darkhorse Wheels will consist of Shaun-Nick Bester, Timo Cooper and Alexandre Vialle.
Shaun-Nick Bester, a prominent ex-professional road cyclist, who competed on the professional European circuit, switched to the mountain bike in October 2017. It was on the gravel where he quickly raced onto the podium and placed 3rd overall at Tour de Plett in his first MTB race. After a successful introduction Shaun-Nick continued his successes solidifying 19 victories in 2018 including the overall series win for the Nissan trailseeker marathon series. 2019 welcomed Shaun-Nick with countless victories with his newly formed team Darkhorse Wheels Pro Cycling including the prestigious Joberg2c overall men’s team CG win and the Cape Pioneer Trek overall men’s solo category GC win.
The other South African rider signing for the team is Timo Cooper. “Shaun-Nick contacted me in May earlier this year after seeing some of my recent race results and asked me if I would be interested in coming onboard the team for the remainder of the 2019 season as a stagiaire rider. After a prolonged break from professional cycling I felt like I really wanted to give it one proper go and see until where my body can take me. In 2015 I raced alongside Stefan Sahm at the Absa Cape Epic and managed to finish inside the top 15 overall. I think 2020 will be a great year for Team Darkhorse Wheels Pro Cycling and I am really excited to get it underway.” Said Cooper.
After joining the team in June 2019 as a stagiaire rider Timo stepped up his game to a whole new level and raced to victory in numerous single day mountain bike marathons during the remainder of the year and finished in 3rd place overall on GC next to teammate Shaun-Nick Bester in the Isuzu 3 Towers early this season.
“After bringing Timo onto the team we became good friends, he is a good rider and I enjoy racing alongside him” said Bester.
The third member of the team is Alexandre Vialle. Alexandre won the Canadian national mountain bike marathon championships 2 consecutive years in 2017 and 2018.
Alexandre raced with Shaun-Nick Bester in the Swiss Epic in August and they managed to finish 3 out of the 5 stages inside of the top 15 teams. Alexandre will form part of the team on a temporary basis. He will race the Tankwa Trek, Cape Epic, Nissan Trailseeker in Banhoek and a few more races during the course of the year.
The tried and tested pair of Alexandre Vialle and Shaun-Nick Bester will take on the Tankwa Trek, ABSA Cape Epic and maybe one or two other multi day stage races. “We have great synergy in our riding capabilities, Alexandre is a really great rider and his technical skills are some of the best I have seen. On the climbs we are similarly matched. He is mentally strong and does not let any bad situations during racing get to his head. It also helps that we get along very well, which is probably the most under rated aspect of multi day stage racing” Said Bester.
“Our team goals for this coming season is to be very competitive at the ABSA Cape Epic and at the South African mountain bike marathon championships.”- says Bester
The team’s calendar will include all of the mayor and high publicity mountain bike stage races and one day classics including:
-ABSA Cape Epic
-Cape Pioneer Trek
-Berg and Bush
-Nissan Trailseeker Series
-S.A. Marathon Championships
Other partners for 2020 include:
-Ciovita cycling apparel
-Uvex safety wear