Team Biogen 2017: An unlikely partnership

This Friday, at the Momentum Health Tankwa Trek, presented by Biogen, an unlikely pairing will begin a 2017 mountain bike racing campaign as Team Biogen. Unlikely because Johann Rabie is a former professional South African cyclist and Gordon Gilbert is a former professional Scottish soccer player.

Don’t expect Team Biogen to win any major races, but don’t be surprised to see them trying to.

 

Team Biogen.jpg
Gordon Gilbert (left) and Johann Rabie make up Team Biogen for 2017.

 

While Rabie is no longer racing professionally, he’s immersed full time in the cycling market, managing his bike shop and still racing as much as possible. He’s only 29 and has finished sixth overall at the 2015 Absa Cape Epic and won the 2014 Old Mutual joBerg2c. He still has a good few races left in him…

 

Gilbert only got into mountain biking in 2014 following forced retirement from professional soccer due to injury. He’s quickly adapted though. He was 107th at the 2014 Cape Epic, 29th in 2015 and 24th last year.

 

Rabie and Gilbert will only meet properly for the first time ahead of this week’s Tankwa Trek race. But both feel they’ll be compatible, based on their shared character traits and commitment.

 

“I wouldn't take on the challenge of teaming up with Johann if I didn't think I would be able to live up to the expectations. Johann is a true professional with loads of ability. It won’t be easy but I wouldn't want it any other way. I think we will compliment one another nicely and hopefully do well in the Biogen colours,” said Gilbert.

 

“This year I am taking my racing down a notch as I can’t train as much as I used to with my business growing. Gordon is someone that has shown a very good standard of racing and looks like an overall nice guy. The main focus is not to win all the races but to be good brand ambassadors for Biogen and the other brands we represent,” said Rabie.

 

While the team is focussed on success throughout the year, their biggest challenge is next month’s Cape Epic.

 

“We want to give it everything and leave nothing in the tank. If that's good enough to be up there fighting for a podium spot in the African jersey category, well, time will tell. But both Johann and I are competitive athletes and will try our best,” said Gilbert, who is a South African citizen.

 

“Our primary goal is to make it to the finish,” said Rabie. “So many things can happen during the Cape Epic – illness, crashes, mechanicals… For now I think just to finish will be good. If all goes well, maybe a top 20 is possible.”

 

“From an events perspective, we have invested in a big way in mountain biking in South Africa. Biogen is the presenting sponsor of the Tankwa Trek and the Cape Pioneer Trek and is the official supplement partner for the Nissan Trailseeker Series, as well as the Ashburton Investments National Series. But while we’re in the wellness business, we are a people-driven company and we feel that we wanted to support both a visible and interesting racing team too,” said Brandon Fairweather, Biogen Marketing Manager.

 

“In Gordon we have one of our most loyal Biogen brand ambassadors. He’s actually made an impressive move over to mountain bike racing and while he may not always be on a podium, you always know when he’s at a race. Johann has been a Biogen-sponsored rider for some years while he was a pro. Gordon is sure to learn a lot from him and most importantly, Biogen will have a presence on the bike as well as off it, at all the high-profile mountain bike events in South Africa,” added Fairweather.

 

For more on Biogen’s range of premium sports supplements, visit www.biogen.co.za.




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