The Spotlight Academy is what the name states, our aim is to enable the strongest riders from local development academies the opportunity to shine and a platform that will allow them to be noticed internationally. They ensure that riders are granted the means to race significant races such as the Absa Cape Epic, FNB Wines2Whales and Marathon Championships. The Spotlight Academy provides these riders with the support needed to grow as athletes and as individuals.

The dominant goal is to allow riders from historically disadvantaged communities within South Africa to become the best in the world. The Spotlight Academy firmly believes they are capable.

The academy currently has two exceptional riders showing great potential, with a work ethic and commitment that Spotlight are exceptionally proud of and believe will result in them achieving considerable success. Halalisani Ntebele, and Siyanda Gumede are both 24 years old and hail from KwaZulu Natal.

Halalisani Ntebele raced the Tankwa Trek, in February, alongside The Coopetto’s Alexander Henning. Photo Supplied.

These riders are offered the opportunity to work at The Coopetto (bicycle services and repairs). This equips them with knowledge regarding how to work with customers, how to deal with general work and the lifestyle challenges that come with trying to fit it all in. The Spotlight Academy is actively seeking a title sponsor to partner with the academy.

“We have started the year formidably, having achieved the goals that we set out to and both the managerial team and the riders remain focused, committed and determined to perform to the best of our abilities,” Spotlight Academy founder, Timo Cooper stated. “We are grateful to the brands Factor Bikes and VanH who have come on board for 2024 and beyond and we now look forward to welcoming another brand(s) who share our ethos on board.”

The Spotlight Academy

The Spotlight Academy riders will be racing aboard Factor Lando full suspension bikes. Photo Supplied.


  • The Spotlight Academy would like to create opportunities for riders who do not have the support to reach their full potential.


  • To grow the sport of cycling in underprivileged communities by spotlighting talented riders.


  • Provide our riders with the best support and tools possible to reach their personal goals.
  • Strive to encourage and motivate others within the areas that our riders come from to grow cycling within these communities.

Halalisani Ntebele

Siyanda Gumede

Age: 24 Years Old 24 Years Old
Province of Birth: KZN KZN
Best Results:


Absa Cape Epic Exxaro Jersey Winner, FNB W2W Exxaro Jersey Winner, Tankwa Trek Amateur Jesey Winner Absa Cape Epic Exxaro Jersey wearer and Exxaro Competition Stage Winner


Instagram: @halandebele @siyandamthobeleni
Please keep an eye on The Coopetto Instagram handle to follow the riders progress throughout the 2024 season.
The Spotlight Academy

In action on Factor Bikes in VanH apparel. Photo Supplied.

About the Founder

Timo Cooper raced professionally for 5 years, before shifting his focus to various roles within the cycling industry, as a coach, a team manager and a mentor. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge with up and coming athletes and has a particular interest in assisting development riders. His vision is to grow the sport of cycling in South Africa and to make riding and racing a bike more accessible in communities in which it is currently not the norm.

The idea to start the Spotlight Academy was born through experience while working within the MTB development community.

“During this time I met some amazing individuals and I knew that this is where I have to grow the sport,” Cooper explained. “Over the past few years, I’ve been trying to figure out how I can give back and what is missing in the current structure. I realised that there was a gap above the Development Academies. Some riders in these academies show true talent but they may not be strong enough to get into professional teams. This is where my idea comes in. To give these riders an extra stepping stone to reach their full potential by giving them the tools and support they need to reach their goals.”