Behind every cycling team are the management and support staff who perform all the “behind the scenes” tasks to ensure the riders just have to worry about riding their bikes.
Zoon Cronje is, amongst a host of other things, the man who runs the Team Garmin Adidas MTB squad and was kind enough to answer a few questions for Crank Cycling News.
CRANK: Zoon, could you provide us with a profile of your company and the services that you provide?
Zoon Cronje: I am a Sport Marketing and PR specialist, and provide the following services:
PR and media solutions
Web design and new media
Illustration and digital imaging
Web hosting and coding
CRANK: You are directly involved in the management of the Garmin Adidas MTB team – what does the management of a professional cycling team entail?
ZC: My company is contracted to take care of the logistics and the behind the scenes leverage strategies and marketing for the team – www.teamgarmin.co.za. I have 10 years experience in the industry in the professional cycling side, retail, sales and marketing.
CRANK: Could you tell us a bit about the Garmin Adidas MTB team riders?
ZC: The team consists of Namibian legend Mannie Heymans, his compatriot Marc Bassingthwaighte and two young SA riders, Phillip Buys and Francois Threron.
The guys are all down to earth and well liked by all – it is a pleasure to deal with them as both professionals and friends.
CRANK: We recently saw a resurgent Mannie Heymans place second at the MTN MTB marathon in Clarens – could you describe Mr. African’s comeback after so much bad luck over the past year?
ZC: It was an impressive feat and his motivation was at an all time high, Mannie was really starting to make one of those TV type comebacks. This last weekend saw all of that crash down! He fell and hurt his elbow. This is so disappointing – I mean he was just starting to show his form and some big events coming up he was due for some big results.
CRANK: Does the Garmin team have any overseas plans this year?
ZC: The guys will be racing in Europe for 6-8 weeks leaving on 20 May. You can follow their progress at www.teamgarmin.co.za
CRANK: With Burry Stander and Kevin Evans showing their class on the road as well as in MTB, why do you think the pro MTBers are making their mark on the road racing scene?
ZC: Absolutely, I think it was because combination of factors. MTB events are generally tough and we had some great events that are on international standard. The other major contributing factor was the calendar. The timing of some major events allowed riders to build their peak for the period around Epic and in this case Road and Time Trial SA Championships. This made it simple for riders like Kevin Evans to build and plan their season to be on form for the races that matter in two definite cycles.
CRANK: What would your advice be for young riders wanting to make the move overseas?
Race the big races, against the top riders and where all eyes are in terms of media and sponsors.
CRANK: Could you provide an insight into what the MTN Quebeka project is?
ZC: Qhubeka is a non-profit venture that provides sustainable community based solutions to climate change where African kids grow trees to earn bikes in return.
CRANK: You are certainly an active sportsman in your own right – how did this years Epic go and what are your sporting aspirations for the rest of 2010?
ZC: I do enjoy endurance adventures. This was my first Epic and was quite the experience. Day two nearly killed me but fortunately I got stronger as the days went by and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I have some other events on my bucket list for the near future including the Fish, Southern Storm, Zambezi Man and hopefully the Cape Pioneer Trek this year as well.