South African Cyclists Chase Gold
Just under three weeks ago, SASCOC announced the final squad that would represent Team South Africa at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games to be held from Friday, 5 August through to Sunday, 21 August 2016. With a strong team set to make their way to Rio, we take a look at what the cycling side of the team has to offer.
Team South Africa has put forward a strong cycling team, all who have been successfully competing in the past year, making them hungry for gold. Looking at the team sheet, we are hoping to have some silverware hanging around their necks at the end of the Games.
The women’s cycling team consists of An-Li Kachelhoffer and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio. An-Li, a road specialist, is currently riding for the Lotto Soudal Ladies Team. An-Li has competed at various cycling events and currently is the UCI Road National Championship, no stranger to the podium she is hungry to prove herself.
An-Li will celebrate her 29th birthday on August 16 and hopes to get the best present of all, the shiny gold medal!
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio will also be competing in the road discipline and will also compete in the Individual Time-Trial event. Ashleigh won Bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and is currently ranked in the top 10 of the World in the UCI Women Ranking. She has various titles under belt where she has competed with the best in the World, including a podium at the Giro d’Italia Femminile, she is hungry for that Gold Medal!
Moving over to the men’s side of the team, we have a full team competing in various cycling disciplines, from road to mountain biking to BMX, it’s going to be exciting to watch.
Daryl Impey and Louis Meintjies will compete in the men’s road race. Both of these athletes have achieved major success in the past years and both have recently finished the 2016 Tour de France. Daryl is an all-rounder and is seen as a lead out man for the sprinters, he has already confirmed that he will be supporting Meintjies in the race, a true show of the integrity that Daryl has, a true team player.
Louis Meintjies recently finished the 2016 Tour de France in 8th position on the overall standings, it is the first time a South African has finished in the top 10 of the Tour, a remarkable achievement for someone who is only 24 years old. Meintjies stayed with the big boys on all the climbs during the tour, and with Impey in his corner, we have great hopes of a medal.
Moving onto the more extreme side of things, Kyle Dodd will be taking part in the BMX race, racing against the world’s top ranked BMX riders as he looks to fly the South African flag high.
Kyle has spent the last three months competing in the United States to gain much needed points towards his selection for Rio. After his third place finish in the Pro Class open race at the USA Cycling BMX National Championships, he is in top form going into the Games with his medal hopes high!
Last but not least, we move onto the mountain biking discipline. Alan Hatherly is currently riding for the Kargo Pro MTB Team in South Africa and after tasting gold at the Youth Olympic Games when he was younger, the 2015 South African Cross Country Cup Series Champion is going to Rio with one thing on his mind. Win, win, win!
James Reid will accompany Alan and the two look to do the best they possibly can at the upcoming games. James was recently crowned the U23 African Cross Country Champion when he soloed to victory at the 80km Extreme MTB Challenge in Addo.
Whatever the outcome, we wish all our cyclists good luck as they make their way to Rio, proudly South African all the way!