Team South Africa’s Reynard Butler impressed at the Tour Ethiopia when he took two stage wins in the race from August 28 to September 2.
South African team manager Peter-Lee Jefferies said Butler’s win on stage two was thanks to the teamwork of the riders.
“To see the SA jersey sit up with arms held high was just an indescribable feeling.
“The team car erupted and every rider that came in, after the front group, shouted with genuine joy upon hearing Butler had won.”
Jefferies also shared his pride about the team and said each member was a true ambassador to the country, on and off the bike.
“They made a point of speaking with other nations and always made themselves available for press and TV, no matter how tired they were,” he said.
Jefferies added that the team were out-classed on large climbs, predominantly by the Ethiopian riders.
Most of the stages started above 2 300m, which proved to be a challenge for the South Africans.
“We came up with a strategy every day to get the maximum out of the day’s stage, and to say that they stuck to the day’s plans is an understatement,” said Jefferies.
Cycling South Africa president William Newman congratulated the team on completing what turned out to be a challenging tour.
“We achieved our objective of exposing our emerging riders to international racing.
“If Ethiopia can have a dozen riders capable of racing at this level, there is no reason why our young riders cannot do likewise. We will continue providing them with such opportunities.”
Ghana, Sudan, Tanzania, Nigeria, Algeria, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, as well as two Ethiopian teams, took part in the five-stage race, covering over 600km.