South African team goes pro

South African cycling, bouyed by the success of Robbie Hunter in the Tour de France, has stepped up its game, putting forth a UCI Professional Continental men's team and a professional women's team for 2008. The MTN team will be headed by Nicholas White, South African champion Malcolm Lange, sprinter Neil MacDonald, Waylon Woolcock and David George. It will also bring in U23 riders Jay Thomson, Jonathan Kinnear, Juan van Heerden and Bradley Potgieter.

"It's time we started developing African cycling from Africa," said George, according to "The traditional cycling structures which insist that success can only be bred from Europe can now be challenged with the substantial backing of MTN. It's a very exciting time for cycling on this continent."

The company will also support the country's first ever women's professional cycling team. Cherise Taylor and Marissa van der Merwe will lead the team along with Chrissie Viljoen, Altie Clark and Cashandra Slingerland.

Taylor was the silver medalist in the 2007 junior world championship road race.

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