It is the dawn of a new season for ProTouch Continental Road Cycling Team as the number one Team in Africa left this am for the 15th edition of the UCI 2.1-ranked Tropical Amissa Bongo in Gabon. The seven stage tour, takes place from 20 – 26 January 2020 and includes over 1 020km of racing, from Bitam to Libreville.
ProTouch returns this year to Gabon and, lines up alongside World Tour Team [Cofidis], two Professional Teams from Europe [Total Direct Energie, Nippo Delko Provence] and four other Continental Teams [Bai – Sicasal-Petro De Luanda, Natura4ever – Roubaix Lille Métropole, Dukla Banska Bystrica], and eight national teams [Cote-D’ivoire, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Algeria, Rwanda, Eritrea and Gabon] to compete for the general classification.
After having completed as a UCI Continental Team, and finishing off at the end of 2019 in first position in the UCI Africa Tour team ranking, ProTouch has the ambition to consolidate its position and, to continue to contribute UCI Points to the overall South Africa Nation ranking.
“With seven stages, the opportunity to show ProTouch’s evolution will be great and it’s in this spirit that the Team will engage this Tour”, added Maxime Martin, Sports Director.
The team roster consists of Jayde Julius, Gustav Basson, Reynard Butler, Rohan du Plooy, Calvin Beneke and Hendrik (HB) Kruger. Reynard, who suffered a terrible crash in the first stage last year provided his feelings about this year’s Tour: “I have always wanted to race this Tour. This year, I plan to return and use this as a test to compare myself against some of the best World Tour, Continental Pro and Continental Teams in the world”.
Jayde Julius, who is ranked 4th in the Africa Tour South African rankings, last year seized the Sprinters Classification Jersey for the Team. “This year, we return to Gabon to hunt for more UCI Points. Every African rider will want to use the Tour to show off their skills”, added Jayde.
But the Tropical Amissa Bongo UCI 2.1 Tour of Gabon, isn’t only a cycling race, it’s a spirit that is created by the incredible Gabonese people and a backdrop of amazing scenery. “The people of Gabon line the roads every day and the energy and experience – to see this beautiful country from a bicycle – is really very special”, said Rohan Du Plooy, who finished 11th in the general classification last year with ProTouch.
The Team arrived in Libreville this morning and, are ready to take on Stage 1 (20 January 2020 at 09h00 SA time) and will race through two countries in one day, as the cross the Ntem River which marks the natural border between Gabon and Cameroon. It is a winding and slightly hilly course with a spectacular finale in the crossing of Ebolowa before the arrival of a flat and straight road for the final sprint finish.
Follow the Team on our social media channels for up to date race reports as the Tour Progresses.