Six junior cyclists from LEADout Cycling Academy returned to South African soil after spending 32 days in Europe competing against the world’s best juniors in the most prestigious and difficult UCI categorized races.
The six young cyclists Jarrod Hattingh (Cape Town), Aidan van Niekerk (George), Kyle de Wet (Cape Town), Emri Vorster (Johannesburg), Waylin Young (Bloemfontein), and Louis Visser (Oudtshoorn) were handpicked by Barry Austin and John-Lee Augustyn who may be reckoned as the cream of the crop when it comes to junior cycling performance in South Africa. Between these juniors they hold various African and South African road, track and MTB titles. Taking these junior riders to Europe was never about results, but rather giving them exposure to real pro-cycling, even though they are still amateurs.
The LEADout team competed in four UCI category 2.1 stage races. Their tour commenced on 17 July at OberösterreichJuniorenrundfahrt (Austria) and was followed by Internationale Niedersachsen-Rundfahrt (Germany), and Aubel – Thimister – La Gleize (Belgium), with the last race taking place on 15-16 August in Ronde des Vallées, France. They also competed in two local criterium races in Belguim. Not only was the racing a challenge, but it also included the experience of traveling with a camper to and from races, heat waves, storms, rain, gale force winds, preparing food, staying in hotels, guest houses as well as self-catering accommodation, and coping with Air Travel weight restrictions of 30 Kg, which includes the bike with its accessories weighing almost 25Kg.
“I hope this outing to Europe, racing the highest level of junior racing, is an eye opener for both our juniors and our cycling fraternity in South Africa. Whilst I can really commend the boys for taking on each race, each challenge with determination and enthusiasm, I cannot help but feel we as a Cycling SA fraternity are letting the future racers down by not providing the stimulus to take the needed steps. The heart and talent is evident, but the experience leading up to achieving International results need some work on the local front. Somehow we need to build these challenges into our local scene and provide the juniors the platform upon which they can excel. LEADout will strive to do this and bring international success, as we had in the past, back to Saffa junior racing,” says Barry Austin of LEADout.
LEADout is a cycling academy under the leadership of Barry and Ciska Austin with John-Lee Augustyn as team manager. LEADout Cycling has associated partners and sponsors who assist in covering some costs to minimize the financial input by cyclists who wish to participate in the tour. Spier Wine Farm in Stellenbosch is one of the main sponsors. LEADout is also managing and training the Lights by Linea cycling team based in Cape Town. This team has excelled since their short existence and has become a force to be reckoned with at all the major cycling events.
John-Lee Augustyn the Team Manager and Assistant Coach previously a professional cyclist was forced to retire from international cycling due to an injury. With the experience gained as a General Classification rider in Team Barloworld, Team SKY and MTNQhubeka, John-Lee brings a dream to life for young aspiring athletes, whilst managing the day-to-day activities of the team. While in Europe the 6 LEADout teammates had the privilege of spending some down time with John Lee on his birthday. They had a very special day in Brugge, Belgium. It was one of a few moments of being tourists in Europe – as their ultimate goal was to gain experience.
Two of the team members, Jorrod Hatting and Kyle de Wet were selected to represent the South African squad at the UCI World Cycling Championships in America from 20-29 September. The South African supporters wish them all the best for the upcoming event.
With this wealth of experience gained in Europe these juniors have now become a force to be reckoned with in future. They are now well aware of the standard of racing, and how to succeed in reaching the highest level of satisfaction.
Photo: left – right: Jarrod Hattingh, Aidan van Niekerk, Kyle de Wet, Emri Vorster, Waylin Young, Louis Visser