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SA academy realises international cycling dream

This Sunday sees one of the major goals of the Yorkshire Cycling Academy being  realised, with an academy team on their way to take part in the Errigal International Youth Cycling Tour in Ireland.

Sending a team overseas for an International cycling event will be a first for the Paarl-based Academy.

The riders that will represent the Academy are Keanu Slinger, Joshua Francis, Kyle De Wet, Luc Green,George Perrins (all Under-16) and also Whayde Davids and Ayrton De Leeuw (Under-14).

The team will be under management of Odette Francis (well-known to Irish cycling) as well as the passionate Arnold De Leeuw.

The whole idea to get the youngsters to do this tour and also gain valuable experience was highly recommended and motivated by Gerald Francis. Before returning to South Africa at the beginning of 2013, Gerald and his family lived in Ireland for 12 years.

He noticed the good structure and operations at the Academy and decided to throw in his weight and become part of the coaching and development structure to share and implement his extensive knowledge about cycling at competitive level as well as racing in Europe. In Ireland, Gerald was competitive as a veteran cyclist and he also assists his 15-year-old son Joshua with his cycling.

The Yorkshire Cycling Academy has a rich history of cycling ÔÇô established in 1919 ÔÇô and the only community based club from the days of the South African Cycling Association still existing and vibrant.

Over the past few years the Academy laid sound and firm foundations via the Ex-Neotel Pro Team and produced a number of champions at provincial as well as national level.

Their chairperson Ian Goetham says: ” We have an on-hands approach towards the development of our youngsters, and this is very important for monitoring and evaluating the athletes. Especially taking into consideration the Long Term Athlete Development pathway.

“We as the administrators of the sport have a major role to play and one of the core beliefs of the Academy is to break down the barriers that still exist and create opportunities at all level of the sport. This trip to Ireland is indeed ground-breaking and we belief it is the first of many. Sometimes, as history already shown, such great talent goes wasted because of the lack of resources and as administrators we must try to prevent this.”

The tour lasts three days, from 3-5 August.

The stages the riders will need to conquer are:

Day 1: Stage 1, Saturday┬á ÔÇô Road Race
Day 2: Stage 2, Sunday ÔÇô Hill Climb Time Trial, Stage 3 ÔÇô Road Race
Day 3:┬á Stage 4, Monday 4 ÔÇô Criterium Race


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