A new South African domestic squad has been announced, with the outfit backed by German automobile fuel additive producer Liqui Moly. The riders for 2008 include a good mix of experience and youth.
"The small number of professional teams in South Africa means that the racing is dominated by a handful of riders from the teams with the major financial backing," said Roberto Gnudi, the head of Panda cycling club in Johannesburg, which is affiliated with the new outfit. "We aim to change this with the team's combination of gutsy and determined riders. 2008 should see some different faces on the podiums around South Africa."
Team captain Alex Pavlov brings years of experience to the team having ridden for the all-conquering HSBC team alongside the likes of Ian McLeod. Pavlov and the team's sprinter Gary Rabie have represented South Africa in the national squad on numerous occasions. Pavlov joins Liqui Moly from the HI-Q Supercycling Team, along with Jaco Cronje and Gary Rabie. The squad's other riders are Neil Timm, Stephan Oberholzer and Ruan Henegan.
The team's focus for 2008 will be the South African domestic season, targeting all the South African Classics as well as the 2.2 Giro del Capo. The team will also race on the track, focusing on the endurance track events, with some mountain bike races thrown in for good measure in the South African off season. The challenge for 2008 is to achieve good results and exposure for the team's sponsors in South Africa, with a view to taking the team to Europe in 2009.