South African pro road cycling will be extra interesting to watch in 2019 with the addition of three new Continental teams: TEG Procycling, ProTouch and Team Vandergroup. While these teams will be competing with each other in races, they each have their own goals that they’ll be working towards for the benefit of South African cycling.
ProTouch wants to get South Africa to the top of the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Cycling Nations Rankings for Africa. We’re currently fourth, behind Eritrea, Algeria, and Rwanda.
By increasing our ranking we’ll be able to get more cyclists invited to compete in UCI events and tours. More opportunities to earn UCI points in turn increase our national UCI ranking in Africa, and the more national points we have the more invitations South Africa can receive for international events such as the World Championships, Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games.
The team will operate from The Wanderers Sports Medicine Clinic, Sandton Sports Medicine Center, MediWorx-s and Constantia Kloof Sports and Exercise Medicine Center, and have the support from a network of top sports medicine and science specialists through Dr Lervasen Pillay.
Prepare cyclists for their futures
In addition to providing cyclists with the opportunity to compete, TEG Pro Cycling wants to make sure that cyclists are also educated academically — a cycling career can only last so long. In fact, Hein Badenhorst (the team founder, general manager and directeur sportif) realised he wanted to become involved with a SA team while completing his own master’s degree in applied human nutrition.
The management team has also started a cycling development high school program with TuksSport High School. A group of cyclists between the ages of 14 and 17 will take part in this partnership to receive coaching and, after they finish matric, they’ll get an opportunity to join the professional team.
Trevor Court, currently Dimension Data World Tour’s team coach, will oversee training of both TEG’s scholar and pro teams.
In order for young cyclists to gain helpful experienced support, Team Vandergroup teams new U23 riders with experienced ones.
The team is run by the Vander Group as a NGO and was established in September 2017 to help young cyclists develop into professionals.
Having the three continental teams in addition to Dimension Data for Qhubeka, is a big leap forward for SA cycling as it provides a big opportunity for cyclists in South Africa, says Anton van der Merwe, one of the team’s owners.