When the school bell rings for these three cyclists later this year they won’t be going home or kitting up to go do hill repeats in the nearest koppie, no, they are off to Europe to race their bikes….road bikes to be exact. The beauty of cycling lies within its versatility, offering riders the opportunity to expand their skills and talent across more than one discipline within the sport. This is exactly what Danielle Strydom, Nicolene Marais and Lynette Benson, three avid mountain bikers and road cyclists, have accomplished. These three Junior women cyclists were selected, based on their local performances so far this year, to join the South African Junior road cycling squad to tour Europe. Results from the 2016 South African National Road Championships, as well as their performances at the Junior Selection Races were taken into account upon selection.
Danielle Strydom , Lynette Benson and Nicolene Marais are scholars who participate in both road and mountain biking events and have achieved remarkable results in both disciplines. Danielle Strydom, a 17 year old from Potchefstroom Gimnasium, has made her talent known in 2016 by becoming the current Junior Womens SA XCM (marathon) champion, Junior Womens African Continental XC champion AND the Junior Womens SA road champion. Not only has riding in the colours of BMC Swiss Cycles, and as their selected brand ambassador, made her stand out but more so her countless podium results under the guidance of her coach Frans van der Berg.
Another selected Junior squad member straight out of North West is Nicolene Marais from Rustenburg Hoërskool. Nicolene (18) has managed a number of podium results throughout her cycling career and it has definitely not stopped in 2016. Riding for Team Bestmed-ASG, Nicolene boasts with the following 2016 results: Junior Women SA Champs Time Trial 2nd , Junior Women SA Road Race Champs 3rd and coming 2nd at the Junior selection race. Her consistent top 3 results has made Nicolene a danger to any bunch she is in and her sprinting skills should be feared – the female Peter Sagan.
Gauteng based and Team Bestmed-ASG rider, Lynette Benson (18) from Waterkloof Hoërskool, known for having a friendly smile on the bike no matter how tough the racing is, has also been the pride and joy to the local mountain biking and road racing scene. Lynette’s 2016 achievements that got her selected for the Junior squad include; Junior Women SA Champs Time Trial 1st and 1st at the Junior selection race.
These three Junior ladies can also be seen racing in the Spur High School MTB league in their respective provincial events, Gauteng and North West series, throughout the year. At the 2015 Spur National finals at Bekker both Nicolene and Lynette had to face off against each other in the Junior category but this year Danielle, first year Junior, will be thrown into the mix…..exciting racing to come.
They will join other selected riders across South Africa where they will be touring Europe and participating in selected Junior European road races in preparation for the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar, from 9-16 October.
A final South African Team will be selected to participate in the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar. This selection will be dependent on the standard of racing of the South African squad during the European races and their ranking before the World championships.
The tour dates are still to be announced.