Currently there are only three women’s teams in South Africa with a roster bigger than four riders. There are many riders with individual sponsors, club riders at an elite level and smaller teams that are coming through the ranks. With the UCI restriction that only allows teams of between four and six riders to compete in such events we immediately realised the opportunity to put together Women’s Commission Invitational Teams. Not only does this give riders a chance to compete but they also get to experience what it is like to be part of a team and learn from their fellow more experienced teammates.
The Cycling South Africa – Women’s Commission put together two teams for the two races in Pietermaritzburg on the 27th of April and Margate on the 3rd of May. One team will be mentored and captained by Cherise Stander and will include u/23 riders as well as development riders. Zanele Tshoko of the Velokhaya Academy, XCO mountain bike powerhouses Candice Neethling and Bianca Haw as well as Catherine Colyn are amongst the riders in this team. The other team also allows for riders from small teams/clubs and individual riders the chance to be part of this special occasion. Charlene du Preez and Carla Oberholzer of Team Clover will be leading this team and they are joined by riders such as Ronet Human and KwaZulu-Natal women’s cycling icon Isabel Moolman. Jill Bezuidenhout who regularly helps out the Women’s Commission will act as the manager for these teams and will coordinate the neutral following vehicle for the races. Read the comments from Cherise Stander below.
“I am very excited to be part of the Women’s Commission team for the Autumn Series races. Having UCI races on the road for women motivates us and will improve the standard of racing. For me personally it is also a big goal since I have a lot of fond memories from living on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast for several years. In a pre-Olympic year the UCI points that are up for grabs are crucial. We will be racing our hearts out to qualify as many women as possible for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.”
Through this initiative we are able to assist 15 ladies that would otherwise not have been able to compete. The Activate Demacon and Time Freight eTeam have also offered to take on additional riders. There is such camaraderie in the women’s bunch at the moment and a concerted effort to grow our sport from all stakeholders. Teams have lowered their fences and are willing to assist individual riders wherever possible. The willingness from a rider such as Cherise Stander and her RECM team is more evidence of the fact. These are welcome changes and an attitude that can only benefit women’s cycling in the future.
Each of the Women’s Commission teams will wear a different jersey. We are using this opportunity to launch the designs for the cycling jerseys that will go up for sale in the near future after we have decided on a partner for this project. All proceeds from these sales will go back into the development of women’s cycling. People will be able to vote for their favourite design and in doing so also stand a chance to win the jersey that they voted for.
List of riders that will be part of one of the Cycling South Africa – Women’s Commission teams: Cherise Stander, Candice Neethling, Zanele Tshoko, Catherine Colyn, Sinazo Matholeni, Bianca Haw, Lauren Snell, Adel Delport, Charlene du Preez, Isabel Moolman, Teneal Featherby, Ronet Human, Nadia Visser, Carla Oberholzer, Amanda Hawke. Anouk van der Geest will join the Time Freight eTeam for the race on the 27th of April. The manager for these teams will be Jill Bezuidenhout.
You can learn more about the Cycling South Africa – Women’s Commission by liking our Facebook page and by following us on Twitter (@CSAWomen).
Source: Cycling South Africa Women's Commission Press Release