The New Year has sprung upon us (as always quicker than we expect) and 2019 promises really exciting times ahead for South African cycling.
2019 ROAD CYCLING SERIES
After a very successful 2018, the Road Cycling Series will continue into its second year in 2019. The following has been introduced to grow the Series in 2019:
- Updated Competitions & Rules (we encourage all athletes to become familiar with the Road Cycling Series Guide);
- Additional points now available at Provincial Champs;
- New events beyond SA borders, including Mauritius, Botswana & Namibia (to encourage more teams to explore out-of-SA racing);
- New UCI-Team Competition for SA-registered continental teams competing at UCI events;
- And – by popular demand – brand new Vets A & B Men Competitions (very exciting, get ready Vets)
In summary, the Series will consist of a total of 40 Events:- 9 x Multi-Stage Tours, 24 x 1-Day Classics, 5 x SA Provincial Champs, 2 x SA National Champs.
We also encourage athletes to take a take a look at the Road Cycling Series Calendar and become familiar with the races in the Series.
The 2019 Series kicks off this week, with the first event of 2019 being the Mpumalanga Tour. The Elite & U23 Men’s tour, with 7 stages, 817kms and 15 495m of elevation, is the perfect launchpad for riders to cement themselves on the leader boards early on in the Series. The Vets, Juniors and Open categories will take on a 3 Day ‘Lite’ Tour.
The first 1 Day Classic race on the 2019 calendar will be the Value Logistics Fast One, which (together with the various 2019 Provincial Championships) will see the rest of the competitions in the series taking shape.
In our pursuit to see South Africa regain its position as the top ranked cycling nation in Africa (currently 4th), it is very positive to see 3 South African teams investing to register themselves as Continental teams for 2019 – ProTouch Continental ProCycling, TEG ProCycling and Team VanderGroup.
So, what does this actually mean for South Africa?
- More SA riders able (by invitation) to compete in UCI events and tours, resulting in more opportunity to earn valuable UCI points;
- More UCI points for SA athletes, increases SA’s national UCI ranking in Africa (currently 4th); and
- More UCI national points, increases the number of ‘invitations’ to SA for events such as World Champs, Olympics and Commonwealth Games!
We will be focusing more in this topic in the coming weeks, as we become familiar with the individual vision, goals and racing calendars of each team. #GetSAToNumberOne
ROAD CYCLING FAN ENGAGEMENT
Another focus of the Support SA Talent Project is to increase fan engagement and unlock value for investors in SA cycling. During the first quarter of 2019, we will be launching a brand new Road Cycling engagement hub – you can call it ‘the LinkedIn of SA professional road cycling’. This hub has been developed by athletes, for athletes, to help promote themselves and the brands that support them, as well as providing a way for fans to connect and follow top SA Riders. More on this topic to follow.
SOUTH AFRICAN PRO’S ABROAD
On the international Continental and World Tour front, we will be seeing a few of our favourite South African athletes in new colours in 2019. Some notable changes:- After four successful years with team Cervélo-Bigla, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio moves to Team CCC – Liv in the Netherlands. Brendon Davids (Bennelong SwissWellness), Louis Visser and Kent Main (Dimension Data) return home to South Africa to join the new TEG ProCycling conti team. Willie Smit has renewed his contract with Team Katusha-Alpecin for a second year, and Clint Hendricks continues into 2019 with German-based conti team Bike Aid. Team Dimension Data’s Nic Dougall has retired from professional cycling, and is rumoured to be “tri-ing [his] hand at some other things”, and Johann Van Zyl is moving to US conti team, 303Project. Louis Meintjes, Nic Dlamini, Jaco Venter, Jay R Thomson, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Ryan Gibbons continue into the 2019 season with the Team Dimension Data world tour team. Young Stefan de Bod (22) received the call up to join Team Dimension Data for his first year as a World Tour professional. 2018 SA Champ, Daryl Impey renews his contract with Australian world tour team Mitchelton-SCOTT in 2019. We hope he can retain his Santos Tour Down Under title this year as the race starts this week (10thJanuary) in Adelaide, South Australia.
We wish all the South African athletes racing abroad a very successful 2019 and we hope they will continue to inspire all the aspiring athletes competing back home in South Africa.
Stay tuned to the Slipstream Cycling Blog to stay in touch with the in’s and out’s of South African Road Cycling.
‘Till next time.