KZN Summer Series a stepping stone for women’s cycling in Africa

CSA News

On Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 November, the 2016 KwaZulu-Natal Summer Series heads to the province, with 16 local and international teams all confirmed to be taking part. Cycling South Africas Women's Commission Director and Time Freight eTeam manager, Lise Olivier, says that the team is thrilled to be a part of the two UCI 1.2 women-only races - a first for the country and continent.

Olivier shares her excitement with the Time Freight eTeam. “There are very few UCI races for women on the continent and we embrace every opportunity of this nature,” she said. 

UCI event such as these opens the door for African riders. “International teams then have eyes on those riders with more points,” said Olivier. “What is really exciting about these races are all the riders from the rest of Africa that will now also have an opportunity to gain UCI points and potentially receive international contracts,” she added.

Managing a team like the Time Freight eTeam has been a dream for Olivier for a very long time, and her passion and dedication invested into helping women’s cycling in the country thrive is evident through the work that she does. “We plan to grow our Time Freight eTeam into a UCI team for African women, and having races such as these in South Africa is an incredible stepping stone for our team and riders,” she said.

On what having UCI women-only races hosted in South Africa means to her, Olivier said: “I personally think that having women-only races highlights the potential that has been identified in Africa over the past couple of years.  African women's cycling talent just cannot be ignored any longer.”

Earlier this year, Mauritian National Champion Kim le Court and Olivier raced for Spanish UCI team, Bizkaia-Durango in Spain, along with South Africa’s Heidi Dalton. “When they heard about these races they were immediately keen to come to South Africa to race.  They followed up on numerous occasions to see if they could get an invitation, which they did,” she said.

The two races fall into the Cycling South Africa calendar just three days before the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge (UCI 1.1) in Gauteng on Sunday 20 November – the perfect opportunity for international teams already in the country to explore more of South Africa, and collect extra valuable UCI points.

For more information about the 2016 KZN Summer Series, click here: