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(March 2016) This Sunday sees the start of the Absa Cape Epic (ACE), one of the most grueling mountain biking events in the world, with riders competing over eight arduous stages from 13-20 March.

Despite the ACE totaling a distance of 651km and involving15 100m of climbing, for Absa it is more than just a race.

Some of the bank’s staff, including  Arrie Rautenbach, Chief Risk Officer for Barclays Africa, and clients will sponsor and mentor young riders from the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy (DMA). One of these clients is Nigel Payne, Chairman of the Mr Price Group and a board member at a number of other leading institutions.Payne has already offered to sponsor the DMA’s Lebo Pebane (19) at certain mountain-biking stage races in the future, mentor her through Barclays Africa’s ReadytoWork programme and assist with possible internship opportunities.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to give something back and to help others to prosper,” said Payne. He added: “My mother and father left school at the ages of 13 and 14 respectively. I know the impact that education and opportunity make in life and that it has a multiplier effect into families and communities. I am very excited to be able to support the DMA and ReadytoWork.”

Rautenbach, who is tackling the Absa Cape Epic for the second time, will also sponsor and mentor a DMA student at certain mountain-biking events and through the bank’s ReadytoWork programme.

Payne and Rautenbach will be challenging their fellow colleagues and riders to follow suit.

Absa has been a proud supporter of the DMA since 2014. As part of this year’s ACE, Absa will provide internships to 14 young riders from the DMA.

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