On 19 November 2019 the cream of South African Cycling, celebrated South African road cycling talent at the annual SUPPORT SA TALENT ROAD CYCLING SERIES AWARDS, presented by Jaguar Land Rover Sandton.
Phil Liggett, patron of the Support SA Talent Project, and Continental Pro Cyclist Myles Van Musschenbroek once again entertained over 150 guests at the annual Support SA Talent Road Cycling Series Awards function with special guest World Tour rider, Ryan Gibbons.
Thirty six riders and five teams, were presented awards across seventeen categories at the prestigious event and, over R70 000 worth of prize money was awarded on the evening.
A number of fundraising items were auctioned including Daryl Impey’s Green 2018 Criterium du Dauphine Jersey, Ryan Gibbons 2019 Dimension Data Jersey and an original water-colour artwork by South African artist Richie Ryall, depicting and signed by Daryl Impey, Nicholas Dlamini, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Phil Liggett.
The Road Cycling Series – which was started in 2018 by ProTouch Sports – recognises local talent and, ranks over 500 athletes in the (Men’s and Women’s) Junior, U23 and Elite categories. This year, the Veteran A (30 – 39 years) and Veteran B (40 – 49 years) categories were also added, due to popular request from the racing veterans.
“We track the performance of riders over thirty three events on the South African road cycling calendar, which comprises of over twenty nine one-day Classics and four Multi-Stage events, as well as the South African National Championships”, commented Rebecca Eliot, the Founder of the Support SA Talent Project.
Last years’ Road Cycling Series winners’ – ProTouch who, walked away at the end of the season with the Best Tour Rider (Junior and Elite Categories) and Best Overall Series Winner (Junior and Elite Categories) – handed over the local SA Club Racing title to Office Guru Racing U23 riders, with Marc Pritzen – the current U23 National Road Champion – on the top step of the Overall Series Winner, Best Young Rider and Best Tour Rider Competitions. Office Guru also won the 2019 Best Overall Team.
Office Guru’s Dylan Girdlestone finished off the season in 2nd place in the Best One-day Classic Rider Competition (by one point) to stalwart Nolan Hoffman (Team Enza/ Proud Beginners) and 2nd place in the Best Tour rider, to team mate Marc Pritzen.
Office Guru’s Team Principal, Jamie Taylor commented after the event, “we wish to thank Support SA Talent for hosting such a fantastic event tonight, walking away with four out of five of the awards in the Elite Men’s category was huge achievement for the Team. With the average age of the Team being 20 years old, we believe that the future of South African talent on the world stage by 2024 Olympic Games is bright”.
It announced yesterday that Marc Pritzen will also join the NTT Continental Cycling Team, for the 2020 season. Kevin Campbell, Team Manager of the NTT Continental Cycling Team commented at the event, “it is exciting to see the local cycling community supporting local talent. What ProTouch have achieved this year by exposing South African riders to international racing, can only improve the level of cycling. Marc Pritzen showed us his talent, when he won the U23 SA National Championships earlier this year, the awards won tonight only confirm that this young man has massive cycling potential. We are excited to have him on our team for 2020”.
“We wish Marc Pritzen all the best as he continues his development with NTT Continental Team, in 2020. He has graduated from our “bike racing university” with honours and now it’s time to go to work”, added Jamie.
In the Ladies Category, Carla Oberholzer (Demacon – Max Wax Team) won the Overall Series Leader, for the second year in a row and alongside team mates Lynette Burger, Heidi Dalton, Kim Le Court, Azulde Britz and, Suzan Cronje won the Best Overall Ladies Team again.
The Junior category was dominated by Christiaan Klopper from TEG Racing, seizing the Best Tour Rider and Overall Series Leader, with team mate Dian Fritz winning the Best One-Day Classic Rider position. The Junior Awards were presented by Jill Bezuidenhout who has been instrumental in Junior cycling in South Africa over the past 20 years.
In the Junior Ladies category, Absolute Motion’s Francis Janse Van Rensburg won the Overall Series Leader and Team Customised’s Courtney Smith winning the Best Young rider category.
The Veteran A and Veteran B racing categories were won by Team Karan Beef/ Heneways and Team Bestmed respectively. Adolph Krige and Thys Oosthuizen, taking the Overall Series Winner categories.
ProTouch won the Top African Team category, as the number one UCI-ranked Continental Road Cycling Team in Africa. ProTouch who, registered a Continental Team this year, have competed in twenty UCI events, in thirteen countries on four continents this season. Three ProTouch riders finished the season in the Top 10 UCI [South Africa] rankings amongst World Tour Riders such as Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), Ryan Gibbons, Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg, and Stefan de Bod (Team Dimension Data) and four ProTouch riders in the Top 15.
ProTouch is centred around a core of South African riders and, is focussed on enabling athletes onto the World Stage and Phil Liggett presented a video snap shot of ProTouch’s 2019 journey – produced by Myles Van Musschenbroek – you can view the video here.
As a primarily self-funded team, ProTouch has developed a range of solutions in an attempt to make its team less dependent on the traditional sponsorship model, these solutions include athlete representation, broadcast and content rights, a soon-to-be-launched sports-affinity programme with rebates from South Africa’s everyday retail brands and a number of innovative investment channels, focussed on impact investment.
Passionate sports enthusiasts interested in impacting the semi-professional and professional arm of SA Road Cycling should get in touch to find out how they can assist.
SPECIAL THANKS to the following brands that Support SA Talent: Jaguar Land Rover Sandton, NFB Private Wealth, Cloudsmiths, ITEC, Enza Construction, Umzanzi African Telecoms, Barak Fund Management, AHA Hotels and Henk Neuhoff for capturing the event for us.