Pump For Peace Racing Team adds young talent to 2023 roster

UCI-registered mountain bike team Pump For Peace Racing is off to the races in South Africa. The Swiss-based outfit has added rising local star Unathi Nxumalo to the team. Nxumalo, from South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, joins XCO riders Faranak Partoazar from Iran and Tumelo Makae from Lesotho, both multiple national champions and pioneers of the sport in their respective countries.

Caption: Tumelo Makae, Faranak Partoazar, Unathi Nxumalo (Left to Right)

Pump for Peace is a professional mountain bike team with a difference. The team draws its riders from marginalised countries and communities with the aim of forging pathways to high-performance cycling on the global stage. The goal is to help its riders become leaders and through them inspire their communities to dream big while embracing the healthy lifestyle cycling promotes. The team will focus on the UCI XCO World Cup Series races, Continental Championships and select stage races, including the 2023 Cape Epic.

Founded in 2022 as an extension of pump track-building business Velosolutions’ Pump for Peace initiative, the team has already been hard at work breaking down barriers for future generations of mountain bikers from challenging circumstances. 

Caption: Unatha Nxumalo joins Pump for Peace

Unathi Nxumalo shooting for the stars

The 20-year-old hails from Hammarsdale, a rural village outside Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. The talented Nxumalo placed 5th at the 2022 African Continental MTB Championships in Windhoek, Namibia and has numerous top-10 South African Elite XCO finishes. He is a versatile cyclist who excels in mountain biking, road and gravel. Nxumalo is studying an Agricultural Diploma through AgriColleges International and his studies are sponsored by the KZN Department of Sports and Recreation. He is part of a cycling development program run by Absolute Motion and his coach, Johann Wykerd.

“I’m excited to join the Pump For Peace Team,” Nxumalo said ahead of the team’s first training camp in Stellenbosch, South Africa. “Working with the team and all the sponsors will help me achieve all my goals. I would like to become South African Champion, race World Champs and also the Olympics.”

“Unathi is exactly the rider we are looking for,” said Pump For Peace Team Manager Ariane Lüthi. “He is highly motivated and skilled and has enough experience to race XCO at a World Cup level. He was very lucky to have had such great guidance from his coach, Johann, already. We are hoping to see him develop further when getting more exposure to international racing through our team.”

Caption: The riders will be racing the newly-launched 2023 Orbea Oiz

Endura and Orbea join the team

Endura needs no introduction. The Scottish cycling apparel brand is well known in biking circles and is worn by some of the world’s top road, mountain bike and triathlon teams and riders. The team will be wearing Endura custom kit and will be protected by their FS260-PRO helmet with MIPS Brain Protection System. A special kit for Faranak will help combat the Iranian heat she trains in, with an extra-light long-sleeve jersey fabric and leggings design.

Well-known bicycle manufacturer Orbea, from Spain’s Basque country, is also backing the Pump For Peace Racing Team. The riders will be racing the newly-launched 2023 Orbea Oiz. The new Oiz is a no-compromise XC race machine built around 120mm of travel from the start. It brings extra fun to every ride without compromising weight or efficiency. 

Endura and Orbea join existing sponsors Sram, Vittoria, Rockshox, Crankbrothers and Wahoo.

The upcoming season

Pump For Peace’s first races are on the cards this weekend in South Africa. The team is on the hunt for UCI points at the SA and Western Province XCO Cup races in Stellenbosch. From 9-12 February Unathi and Tumelo will test legs and equipment at the four-day Tankwa Trek stage race in preparation for the Cape Epic. Faranak teams up with U23 rider from South Africa, Andrea Schöfmann, at the Tankwa event. The infamously hot and rugged but spectacular Tankwa Karoo region will help build stamina ahead of the XCO season.

You will see the team in action across a variety of races in 2023 with a focus on the Cape Epic from 19-26 March, the UCI XCO World Cup from June through to September. Look out for the riders at the Continental Championships in Africa in April and in Asia at the end of August along with the Asian Games in September. 

The future is bright! More team updates soon as the riders tackle the team training camp in South Africa, its rolling blackouts, relentless heat, tough races and gear up for the iconic Cape Epic.