As we reflect on the past year, we remember our cyclists and other sports persons who passed away over the past year. Our thoughts are with their families and friends. May their souls rest in peace.
Cycling in South Africa has once again enjoyed a very successful year with some standout performances from our riders across all disciplines. As I have always said, Cycling South Africa’s success is measured by our performance on the sporting front. Judging by our riders’ achievements this year we certainly had a very successful year and can be proud of what we have achieved.
The good news early in the year that our very own Team MTN Qhubeka was invited to the Tour de France added an extra boost to our sport. True to form the team rose to the occasion with a great performance at the Tour, with Stephen Cummings winning stage 14 of the tour on Nelson Mandela day to cap a great three weeks of racing. The team went on to deliver more world class performances with a historic top 10 General Classification with Louis Meintjes at the Vuelta a España. Other great performances are evident in the other disciplines as well with Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio getting some good results on the women’s Tour and Greg Minnaar bagging two 2015 Downhill World Cup titles to become the most decorated Downhill rider with a record 18 World Cup titles. Greg also bagged a silver medal at the MTB Downhill World Champs. Our ParaCyclists have also had great results on the World cup circuit and World Champs with Justine Asher and Pieter du Preez being crowned double 2015 World Champions in their respective categories. Our perennial star Ernst van Dyk was also a medallist at the World Cups along with other noteworthy performances from the team.
Our riders dominated the African Continental Track and Road Championships held early in the year and our Road team flew the South African flag high at the Africa Games where we medalled in all the events. Our BMX riders dominated the African Champs, with some good performances on the world stage as well.
It was also a moment of immense pride when Mr. Gotty Hansen, a past President of Cycling South Africa received the UCI merit award at the UCI Congress in Richmond, Virginia.
All these great performances did not go unnoticed with Cycling South Africa securing an unprecedented 10 nominations at the recent SA Sports Awards, with Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio bagging the Sportswoman of the year award and Songezo Jim and Team MTN Qhubeka being honoured with the Minister’s Award for Excellence. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio ended the year ranked in an unprecedented 6th position on the UCI women’s rankings to confirm her emergence on the world stage.
The year draws to a close with the very exciting news that Team Dimension Data have been granted their WorldTour licence for 2016, guaranteeing them entry into all the major races next year. The team has once again made history for South African and African Cycling.
All our riders are great ambassadors for our sport and our organisation and we will continue to support them in the best way possible in order for them to achieve even greater success. With the Rio 2016 Olympics looming, our riders are working exceptionally hard to qualify and we will ensure that they get the best possible support.
With another successful year behind us, now is the time for us all to relax and spend some time with our loved ones and come back refreshed in the New Year which promises to be even more exciting and successful. I wish you all a very happy and safe festive season and a prosperous New Year. If you are driving, do so with care. Also be extra cautious out there while riding your bicycles.
4 December 2015