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Tony Ramatladi, 18, poised to take on 698km mountain bike race

A legendary mountain bike race through the Western Cape province of South Africa has a new entrant this year: Tony Ramatladi.

He’s 18 years old.

The South African, who will compete with Johnny Taueatoala on team Exxaro Nedbank Capital Academy 2, is the youngest rider in the March 17-24 Absa Cape Epic. All teams in the field have two riders each.

“I’m concerned about what people may think if I don’t succeed in this challenge,” said Ramatladi, who is still in school. “I don’t want to let my team down and create a bad reputation for the Academy.”

The race starts with a 22-kilometer prologue at Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville, and ends eight days later at Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West. The entire race is 698 kilometers long and features more than 51,000 feet of climbing. Twelve hundred riders are slated to compete.

According to a press release about the race, this year’s event is being called the most competitive in the 10 years it’s been held.

“I feel very proud and my goal is to be the youngest person to finish the Epic,” Ramatladi said. “With the help of our team manager and captain, I feel well prepared.”

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