Like the arrival of the summer rains, the province of KwaZulu-Natal will soon welcome with open arms the teams taking part in the inaugural KZN Summer Series on Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 November 2016. Local team, Cycle Nation Women’s Team, will be one of the teams taking part in the series, and team manager Lincoln King says that this is a huge step for women’s cycling in the country.
Two back-to-back UCI 1.2 women-only races will be hosted by Cycling South Africa in conjunction with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation and Msunduzi Municipality. Teams taking part include local, international and African teams.
The Cycle Nation Women’s Team that will be taking part in the KZN Summer Series, consists of Johannesburg’s Cashandra Slingerland, Samantha Summerscales and Jeri Moran, along with Charmaine McCallum from Durban and Nelspruit’s Emily Clarke, who is appearing courtesy of her current team, Team Valencia.
King mentioned he was immensely proud to have the team part of the KZN Summer Series. “It's a testament to the hard work we have put into developing our new team along with the assistance and ongoing support we have received from our sponsors, Enza Construction. It's a great opportunity to be able to offer a return to them on a more prestigious stage than we're used to performing.,” he added.
A mixture of excitement and nervousness surrounds the team. “For many of them it will be the first time in their cycling careers where they get to race in a field where the depth of talent is massive and the level of performance exceptionally higher than anything they're used to,” said King.
Bar Johannesburg’s Cashandra Slingerland, who has in the past campaigned on the European racing circuit with the former MTN Energade Ladies Team, this will be a completely new experience for the rest of the Cycle Nation Women’s Team.
King feels that this is an opportunity to develop the riders who are part of the team. “It's valuable experience that they will gain and that we hope we can transfer with more opportunities for other women who might be interested in getting involved in competitive women's racing,” he said.
He also mentioned that the team is very new, having only begun racing seriously as a team this year.
Speaking about the importance of these races to women’s cycling in the country, King said: “This is a vital shot in the arm for the sport. It's an opportunity for all the women involved to gain invaluable experience and more than that, an opportunity for us to score valuable UCI points right on our doorstep.”
Catch teams like the Cycle Nation Women’s Team taking part in the KZN Summer Series.