29 AUGUST 2020

Today, we are super-excited to announce the planned launch of a Africa’s first E-SPORTS Development Squad, aimed at riders aged between 13 – 18 years old. This announcement by ProTouch Sports, to launch a new development team alongside its UCI Continental Road Cycling Team – ranked number one in Africa – comes after the launch of its Support SA Talent Virtual Racing Series that has been running for over past 15 weeks and UCI announcement last week that an E-Sports World Championships for Elite riders, will be held later this year. This signals the intent by the UCI, of a whole new racing category being formed.

“The new African squad, which will be announced at the end of October and, will consist of around 10 riders – primarily from South Africa – and, with a representative mix of both male and female riders,” said Rebecca Eliot, ProTouch’s Business Development Officer. Eligible riders have the opportunity to directly apply for a place in the team, simply by filling out the application form. Riders will be selected also based on performance in the Virtual Racing Series 3, that kickstarts on 2 September 2020. Riders wishing to participate in the Series can do so by entering using the Zwift link provided on our Facebook page.

The development squad will race in a neon green ProTouch kit to be launched soon, as well as receiving access to an essential support package from Wahoo and other key strategic partnerships. Successful applicants will also receive access to mentorship from ProTouch Continental riders and coaches, as well as access to international E-Sports ‘Invitation Only’ events that will commence in November 2020, and spearheaded by global E-Sports Teams.

With an increasing interest in this new race category – which during global Covid-19 lockdowns increased substantially – ProTouch believes E-Sports is here to stay and as the number one UCI-ranked Continental Team in Africa, believes it has a role to play in developing this category further in Africa. “The world of E-Racing has some challenges to overcome, with one of the biggest being the validating and verifying of performance data. As a Team, we are committed to ensuring that our rider set-ups and data are as accurate as possible, this is imperative for the future of the sport”, added Eliot.

We subscribe to the international standards being set by teams such as Canyon ZCC – the World’s first professional E-Racing Team on Zwift, that was launched in 2019. ProTouch is committed to ensuring that once it commences racing that:

  1. Each of its riders will provide a weigh-in video on the day of the race, taken before the race. This will be posted to the Zwift Transparency Group
  2. All riders agree to adhere to the Zwift eRacing Rules  
  3. Each of our riders is responsible to ensure that their equipment is calibrated properly and running the latest updates of software.
  4. All riders will dual-record their performances and, it is our rider’s responsibility to ensure the two power sources are as close to matching as possible.
  5. Each rider commits to having up-to-date power recordings ready to share with ZADA or any other governing body as and when required to do so.
  6. Our riders will be involved in live streaming performances and we will share in corroborating material to verify equipment setup.
  7. We will continue to adapt our commitments as new standards and approaches are developed.

“ProTouch has a proud history of nurturing young talent in South Africa having run Junior, U23 and Elite Teams for over 5 years and, we’re excited to be continuing this with the introduction of our E-Sports development squad. We’ve already built the Top Continental Team in Africa, and we look forward to helping to grow the next generation of cyclists from Africa too in this new category” commented Tony Harding, Team Principal of ProTouch.

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?

Complete the application form. Applications are open from today and will close on 15th October 2020. We will then review applications received as well as performances by riders in our Virtual Racing Series. This will be followed by an interview process with shortlisted applicants at the end of October 2020.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR, IF YOU MIGHT LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AS A PARTNER PLEASE CONTACT:

REBECCA ELIOT rebecca@protouchsports.co.za

Mobile: +27 83 656 4632

 

ABOUT PROTOUCH

PROTOUCH™ is a South African Sports brand, focussed solely, on enabling South African Athletes to perform on the World Stage. Our aim is to revolutionize Professional Cycling in South Africa, by building a sustainable business beyond sponsorships] that supports high performance. Our business is centred around the number one UCI-ranked Continental Elite Men’s Road Cycling Team in Africa – the PROTOUCH™ Pro Cycling Team – and, we have assembled an ecosystem that encompasses a range of commercial initiatives to support the development of athletes while, unlocking value for brands, fans and investors.

This ecosystem includes a range of Professional Athlete-specific Services; the SUPPORT SA TALENTNational Road Cycling and Virtual Racing Series; an online Marketplace; the PHIL LIGGETT FOUNDATION™ and, Impact Investment Fund for Athletes; the FUND YOUR PASSION™ Crowdfunding Platform; and, soon-to-be-launched TOUR DE AFRICA™ Pursuit and a Mobile Fan Engagement Platform, focussed on African Cycling.

During the COVID-19 Lockdown in South Africa, PROTOUCH launched an extension to its Road Cycling Series to cater for Virtual e-Racing – providing South African cyclists a platform to showcase their athletic ability and, give sponsors coverage, as well as to raise funds for the Phil Liggett Foundation to Support SA Talent. The first edition of the Series, registered over 200 South African riders who participated in a 16-week league, using its own registered event on Zwift and, these events were live streamed onto multiple channels.

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