The inaugural KZN Summer Series, in conjunction with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation and Msunduzi Municipality, will see some of the world’s greatest women’s cycling teams compete in two separate UCI 1.2 women-only races on Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 November 2016. International team, Bizkaia-Durango will be one of those teams taking part, with a special link to South Africa already.
South African cyclists Lise Olivier, Kim le Court and Heidi Dalton all ride for Spanish team, Team Bizkaia-Durango on the international cycling circuit. Although part Team Bizkaia-Durango, Lise Olivier and Kim le Court have signed a release to ride for local sponsor, the Time Freight eTeam, “This is allowing more riders from Spain the opportunity to come out from Europe to see our incredible country and experience our hospitality,” said Olivier.
For Olivier, her international team operates on very similar principles to the local Time Freight eTeam, and understands the challenges faced by women in cycling. The team provided international racing opportunities for three Southern African riders (Heidi Dalton included). “These are incredibly hard to come by for African riders and very few teams are willing to do this. They also see the need to develop women's cycling,” she said.
Olivier said that there had been numerous discussions in Spain about women's cycling and in particular, the potential of African women's cycling. “Together we have opened doors for more riders from Africa to race with this team and seeing the team receive an invitation to come race in South Africa is a great way to 'repay' them for what they have done for us,” she added.
This will be the first time that the Bizkaia-Durango riders or staff have ever been in South Africa, and they are extremely excited. “Not only to see the the country but also experience the racing environment that three of their teammates are exposed to and witness the potential in Africa that we have spoken about.
“They assure us that they will return in 2017 and see more of what South Africa has to offer,” Olivier concluded.
Another team taking part with South African flair is Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio’s team, Cervelo-Bigla.