The Team Spur mountain-bike outfit has reached the end of the road following its three-year tenure, team director Nic Lamond announced yesterday.
The team had the main mission from the outset to provide inspiration to the thousands of scholars participating in the countrywide Schools MTB League, which is sponsored by Spur.
They therefore felt that they had fulfilled their objectives.
“We believe the league has had a huge impact on the sport in the country, not only at high-performance level, but also in bringing families and communities together,” the team said in a statement.
The team comprised Alan Hatherly in 2017 and 2018 and Ariane Luthi since 2016. James Reid also rode for the team in 2016, before he called time on his career at the end of that year.
“The dedication to the team is reflected in the way we supported our riders James, Ariane and Alan through some profoundly challenging times in their professional careers,” the statement said.
The 2018 under-23 world champion Hatherly, who has been dominant on the cross-country circuit with the team, said his highlights over the last two years was getting the opportunity to race in two full successive world cup seasons.
“Another highlight was getting the opportunity to be involved in assisting the grass roots of cycling in South Africa,” Hatherly said.
“It really has opened my eyes to the up-and-coming talent our country has.”
Luthi, from Switzerland, enjoyed two career highlights with the team, winning the Cape Epic in early 2016 and reclaiming the Swiss national jersey this year.
“[Also] watching Alan grabbing the rainbow stripes at the end of this year was unreal,” she said.
However, Luthi has battled some challenging times as well.
“I went through a pretty tough time in between,” she said. “However it was during those two years struggling with depression that I appreciated the great support of my team, and especially our manager, Nic, the most.”
Luthi, Hatherly and the team’s staff will reportedly join factory teams ahead of the 2019 season.
“Safe to say, you’ll get plenty of opportunity to see both Ariane and Alan racing in their beloved South Africa in 2019,” the statement said.
“While the team’s structure as a fully-fledged professional race team dissolves, the athletes will continue to work as proud ambassadors to the Schools MTB League, which will be supported by this amazing organisation for another 10 years.”