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After two years without a sponsor, yet still ranking as one of the top events in the country, the Panorama Tour, the four-day road cycling stage race in Mpumalanga, has been given a huge boost following the announcement that MTN will sponsor the 2008 event.

The MTN Panorama Tour is unique in that it was South Africa’s first ever road cycling event in which participants must compete in two-rider teams, a concept already popular in mountain bike stage races. It’s also an event that shifts the focus away from the professionals and onto the recreational riders.

“The masses among the cycling community have the equipment but not necessarily the time to train as much as the professionals and just participating in and completing well-organised, challenging events like the Panorama Tour is their goal,” explained Jacques Hattingh, MTN Senior Manager: Customer Satisfaction.

“MTN is a major sponsor of professional cycling and the Panorama Tour now gives MTN an opportunity to reinforce our philosophy of making cycling available to everyone,” added Hattingh, who completed the event himself in 2007.

In its inaugural year, 2006, the Panorama Tour was rated the third-best road race in the country on the Bicycling magazine Rate Your Race ranking system and last year it was rated the top road stage race in South Africa.

“MTN’s involvement in this tough tour will provide riders with an exceptional experience from registration before the start to collapsing at the finish line after the final time trial,” said Fiona Coward, Panorama Tour Race Director. “MTN’s support has raised the status of the race even higher and we expect a full field of 250 teams to join us as we tour one of the most beautiful but challenging regions in the country.”

Entries are open for the 2008 MTN Panorama Tour!