CYCLING SOUTH AFRICA NEWS
CYCLING SOUTH AFRICA NEWS – UCI category events on home soil is a “win-win for Africa and SA”
South Africa’s Elite cyclists are gearing up for the start of the KZN Autumn Series – a series of three UCI Category 1.2 road cycling races – taking place in KwaZulu-Natal today 27 April (in Pietermaritzburg), 1 May (Pietermaritzburg to Margate) and 3 May (Margate). World Cycling Centre Satellite-Africa Director, Jean-Pierre van Zyl will have quite a few riders competing in the series, from the WCC MTN-Qhubeka Feeder team as well as riders from the Congo.
“This now is the most important season of the Olympic cycle,” said Van Zyl on the importance of events like these in South Africa. “The end of December 2015 will show who is at the top. And, the higher you’re ranked, the more places you are able to fill for World Champs and Olympics. By competing in events like the KZN Autumn Series, riders across Africa competing against international riders will be exposed to the sort of international standards that there are in European racing. With the African nations scoring points for hosting events such as these as well, it’s a win-win for Africa and SA,” he said.
The team is a close-knit one, and Van Zyl is proud of how much respect is shared amongst them all, especially with regards to training. “Of course the guys have their own individual zones, but they leave from the same place, on the same route, as one, at the same time everyday. And with living and training together we become a family and look out for one another. By having such great respect for each other off the bike, it also helps them have respect for their fellow riders as well. It aids to helping them ride more as a team,” he said.
Van Zyl said that the WCC Africa has brought out riders from the Congo to train and compete as well. “We have 20 riders from the Congo here – 18 of them we have put into three teams to ride. Some of the guys arrived on 12 April and the rest arrived on the 22nd.”
On the team’s participation in the UCI 1.2 Category racing, Van Zyl said: “They are absolutely thrilled and so excited to race. They don’t have races like these over there, so to have small European training standards and training with pro teams, it’s excellent.” he said.
“We’ve been able to take them to the University to test their strength, flexibility and power. This way they are able to push themselves to the max and see what they are truly capable of. We need to build Africa, and this is the way to do it,” said van Zyl.
Cycling South Africa and its partners and with the support of KwaZulu-Natal Sport and Recreation launched the KZN Autumn Series, which is a series of three UCI 1.2 road races that will take place in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa on 27 April, 1 May and 3 May 2015.
All races except one will accommodate Elite Men and Women riders and as per the local regulations, the team sizes will be restricted to six riders per team for each of the races. The KZN Autumn Series is listed on the Continental Calendar of the Union Cycliste International (UCI) as a Category: ME (Men Elite) & WE (Women Elite), 1.2. / UCI Africa Tour event.
For more information about the KZN Autumn Series, click here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/kzn-autumn-series