It’s all-systems-go for Team Dimension Data’s Nic Dlamini, the King of the Mountains winner at both January’s Tour Down Under and August’s Tour of Britain, as the 2018 World Championships kick off in Austria. On a brutally hilly course that suits purer climbers, many South Africans have opted not to ride, leaving just Dlamini and 2015 SA road champ Jacques Janse van Rensburg to pull on the national kit in this weekend’s 258km main event.
There has recently been a lot of reporting and passionate social media interaction on the participation of SA riders at the World Championships in Austria. Riders have been asked by a beleaguered Cycling South Africa to self-fund their kit, travel expenses and support costs at the event – in essence, every brass cent – and for most riders, the prospects of not just personal glory but also team success were not strong enough to warrant the investment. DDD team principal Doug Ryder has freed up some staff and equipment from the squad’s Lucca base (not for the first time) to ensure that Janse van Rensburg and Dlamini will line up on Sunday 30 September.
“I understand the personal decision that riders have made to not take part, based on their personal costs and time, as well as the fact that the parcours only suits very few riders,” said Dlamini from Lucca. “I thought long and hard about my personal situation, and discussed this with my team and mentors. The financial circumstances of my federation is unfortunate, but it does seem that they are turning things around. Just not in time for the 2018 Worlds. I am sure that in the future corporates and sponsors will understand the value of participating at the World Championships and that this will make it easier for riders to attend.”
“On a personal level, the importance of competing in Innsbruck is two-fold: I need to develop my cycling career and experience, but I also want to showcase the importance of participation for young SA riders and hopefully give potential sponsors an idea of what is possible at the highest level, even for ‘normal’ South Africans.”
“Team Dimension Data is 100% behind this and has committed logistics and support to the riders that attend in Innsbruck. I know this 2018 edition is tough and not suited to me, ultimately, but we are both hungry for the top-level experience Worlds offers – and more importantly for me it is an opportunity to learn a lot in preparation for the 2019 World Championships in Yorkshire, where the shorter, punchier climbs suit me far better.”
Catch the race on Sunday on Supersport, channel 208 from 09h30 (presuming they don’t move it to another channel last-minute…). And while you are there, check this peek at Nic and his astounding rise to the World Tour, from the Supersport vault: https://www.supersport.com/cycling/video/1006104
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