Cycling SA determined a new policy to aid riders based on performances abroad. The programme’s 2020 focus, dubbed Agenda 2020, is to ensure that Cycling SA qualifies for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with the highest possible international ranking. The programme was launched in November 2018, and with the first half of the year behind us, Cycling SA takes stock of what has been achieved under the programme:
Men’s Road Cycling is currently ranked 18th, despite the number of South African’s competing abroad in high points value points races, is not the same as most European countries. We still have some strategic events in hand to maintain our ranking, for four men to compete in Tokyo 2020.
Our women’s national ranking is 12th, and we are currently within the range we have targeted. Cycling SA will be sending a women’s team to Europe during September, to compete in various UCI events leading up to UCI World Championships in Yorkshire.
XCO Mountain Biking
Unlike road, which only has a 12-month qualification time line (24 October 2018 to 23 October 2019), mountain biking XCO qualification is calculated by the sum of a nation’s top ranked riders from 28 May 2018 to 27 May 2019 added to the sum of the top three ranked riders from 28 May 2019 to 27 May 2020. In XCO, there is complete parity in men and women in terms of qualification numbers and rankings. Cycling SA’s goal to qualify two men and two women for Tokyo, is to be ranked between three to seven in the UCI Olympic qualification ranking.
With outstanding results from Alan Hatherly (U23 World Champion in Sept 2018) Candice Lill having achieved two top 20 results in the first two UCI World Cups of 2019, our women are currently ranked 8th and our men are ranked 15th, with the second qualification year having just commenced in 2019.
The qualification criteria are very high, with both team versions of the sport (team sprint, Madison and team pursuit), only allowing qualification for nations ranked in the top seven and eight respectively. Continents that do not qualify for riders in these disciplines can qualify individuals through international ranking of the sprint or Omnium for men and women.
Currently Cycling SA has a few contenders improving their international ranking, namely Jean Spies and Charlene Du Preez.
Jean Spies is currently Ranked 21st in the Keirin and 38th in the individual sprint; whilst Charlene is Ranked 33rd in the individual sprint and 26th in the Keirin.
Cycling SA’s goal to be ranked between 6-11 on the international ranking, is in progress. The UCI BMX World Championships coming up will be a test to see if our riders can progress to the finals, to improve on our current international ranking of 13th place on the UCI Olympic programme. Much like MTB, the BMX qualifications run over a two-year period.
Para-cycling, due to its number of categories, has a very complex qualification system. Based on individuals’ rankings as per 31 December 2019, riders must complete in at least one UCI World Cup and the UCI World Championships in 2019. All the qualifying nations’ points are added up and then divided by the number of available Olympic places. Then in turn, each nations’ ranking points is divided by this factor, to determine the number of athletes each nation qualifies for (max 13 for men and six for women).
In terms of the Agenda 2020 reimbursement policy, Cycling SA has already reimbursed riders to the value of R446,498 since inception in November 2018 across the five disciplines. The national body has also invested R730,000 in hosting UCI events and National Championships this year, bringing total high-performance investment to R1,176million.