Cape Town Cycle Tour

Mauritian Kim Le Court De Billot defended her Cape Town Cycle Tour title in wet conditions in the Mother City on Sunday, 13 March. Landscape shot of cyclists speeding by.

Western Cape Championships: Impressive field of development cyclists

Vernon Treu is one of 22 Development cyclists competing in the Western Cape Road Cycling and Time Trial Championships.

Cape Town Cycle Tour

Mauritian Kim Le Court De Billot defended her Cape Town Cycle Tour title in wet conditions in the Mother City on Sunday, 13 March. Landscape shot of cyclists speeding by.

South African paracycling champion Vernon Treu (19) is one of 22 cyclists from the Nedbank Sports Trust Cycling Development Programme competing in the Western Cape Road Cycling and Time Trial Championships, at Perdeberg Cellars in Paarl this weekend, 22 and 23 January 2022.

For the first time in two years, the Western Cape championships are taking place ahead of the South African championships. This had been the the norm but was derailed by the lockdown in 2020 and 2021. The cyclists achieving first, second and third place in their categories at this year’s Western Cape championships automatically go on to compete in the South African championships, in February at Graskop, Mpumalanga.

Opportunities at the Western Cape Championships

Treu will compete in both the individual time trial on Saturday and the road race on Sunday, while 21 of the cyclists will compete in the road race – 158 km for the elite and under-23 cyclists, and 83 km for under-17 cyclists. It’s going to be tough riding, as temperatures predicted for this weekend are in the upper 30s and early 40s. Based on this, the starting time has been changed to an hour earlier.

“Our cyclists have been training hard, doing both indoor and road training, and receiving mental coaching. This weekend they must get out there and own the space to do well in the race,” says Mike Tippett, Manager of The Sports Trust Cycling Development Programme.

The programme has been funded by Nedbank since 2005. The Sports trust supplies bikes and supports the training and participation of over 200 cyclists annually in 12 high schools in the Western Cape, located in the areas of Boland, Cape Metro and West Coast.

“As a bank, our brand purpose is entrenched in using our financial expertise to do good for individuals, families, businesses and society,’ says Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank. ‘We are a proud supporter of community development and through our investment in sport, we aim to inspire the youth to strive towards their goals, to impact their communities positively and create a better society for all. We pursue two core aims through this programme: to encourage learners to live a healthy lifestyle and do well at school; and to identify and nurture cycling talent during and beyond their school years. It’s very satisfying to be where we are now, with a good number of cyclists competing at the provincial and national level.”

Three years ago, the programme broadened its scope to include disabled cyclists in previously disadvantaged areas. Treu is a category C3 cyclist with cerebral palsy; he won two silver medals at the South African National Road Race Championships in Swellendam in March 2021, and is looking to do even better this year.

Speaking from Bredasdorp in the Western Cape, Treu’s father, Jerome Treu, explains: “Vernon has been keen on cycling since he was a small boy.

“At first he just did it because he liked it, but he did so well that from the age of 11 he started cycling more seriously and now he has his sights set on competing in the next Paralympic Games in Paris in 2024.

“He trains regularly six times a week; for his road training I follow him in my bakkie. What’s interesting is that he always does far better in competitions than during his training. He has the temperament for competing and he is really looking forward to this weekend as the opportunities for competing these past two years have been limited by the pandemic.’