It came as a huge surprise when Team LEADout Aspire announced their incorporation at the end of last year, as top level road cycling teams within South Africa are limited to only a few competitive teams such as Road Cover, Telkom, Giant, and Alfa Bodyworks.
It all started during the early weeks of December 2016 when nine under 23 riders realized that they have been excluded from all formal team obligations for the 2017 South African road racing season. They therefore decided to joined forces, and came up with the idea of managing their own team.
“We thought it would be a waste of our talent if we didn’t take our ability a step further and establish a formal team structure securing race opportunities locally in an organized fashion. This will also serve as a good preparation for Europe, as most riders would be staying, and racing together at a base in Belgium later in the year,” says Aidan Van Niekerk.
The LEADout Aspire Team will be functioning as an extension of LEADout Sport, managed by Barry and Ciska Austin. Barry will provide coaching for 8 of the team riders, while LEADout takes on a management role for all 9 riders for their European development programs.
LEADout Aspire Team’s ultimate goal is to assist in the local preparation for their riders racing abroad in Europe, to make racing as inexpensive and accessible as possible. This will in turn provide the team riders with the opportunity to spend their money on their European ambitions, thereby aiding their international development. The riders have different schedules for Europe. Some have been selected to ride for teams in Spain, France, and Portugal. Notwithstanding, LEADout will have a base in Belgium where their remaining riders will be trained to compete in races in conjunction with Verandas Willems-Crabbe.
Currently Team LEADout Aspire is associated with the major partners with which LEADout is also associated with: Spier Wine Farm, and Ascendis Health. Team LEADout Aspire has also received sponsorships from Evobikes, SwiftCarbon, Whasp Nutrition, and The Cyclist Co.
Team LEADout Aspire riders are: Greg De Vink, Jarrod Hattingh, Byron Munton, Damean Oosthuizen, Devin Shortt, Wian-David Slabbert, Aidan van Niekerk, Morne van Niekerk, and Ivan Venter.
The nine riders are all well known in the cycling fraternity in and around Cape Town, and between them share impressive national as well as international results. Eight of the riders in this squad have represented South Africa Internationally.
Leading up to the South African Champs the team engaged in a training camp from 16 – 25 January held in the Cape Winelands. Team LEADout Aspire’s first official race took place at the Western Cape Champs held in Oudtshoorn on 28 January. Morné van Niekerk was the first u/23 rider who crossed the line with team mate, Ivan Venter in second place.
We wish Team LEADout Aspire the best of luck with their upcoming races – surely a notable and gifted team!