Garlandale cyclist sets sights on European tour

Picture: FUad Esack

The Grade 8 Garlandale High School pupil has shown potential throughout the three years he’s been cycling, and, as a result, has bagged a number of podiums for the Bellville-based cycling club.

His father, Udley Dollie, who has been cycling since 1984, said he sees himself in his son when he cycles.

Dollie said it is a very difficult but great opportunity for Tashreeq and the team. They have to fund themselves individually for the cost of the tour.

“Over the past few months, he has really improved due to the coaches they have.They give their time to teach the youth to develop.

“It’s an opportunity we have never had. We want them to have fun and do their best and take their ability further. The potential is there; we can see it in them,” said Dollie.

The opportunity for international competition excites Kinetic Cycling Club chairman, O’Ryan Bruintjies.

The veteran cycling administrator says that through structured training programmes and partnerships, youth riders in the province can compete at the highest level; provincially, nationally and internationally.

However, he says in order for them to be able to perform, they need the necessary support. Bruintjies, who has more than 20 years of experience in the sport, has been the chairperson of the club for the past 15 years and is a youth cycling commissioner for both Western Province and Western Cape, and is the director for Para-Cycling SA.

Established in 2000, the club has more than 100 members, including 40 youth and 60 senior riders that take part in different cycling disciplines; including road cycling, mountain biking and track cycling.

In line with Bruintjies’ vision of preparing youngsters to compete against the best of the best, the club is sending a team of juniors to take part in the European Junior Cycling Tour in July.

And, they have been hard at work these past few months, with some riders achieving success in various races. They have also registered a professional team of eight riders for the 2019 season.

“Currently we have 10 national champions and three African continental champions.

“Four years ago we decided that we would like to send some of our youth riders to Europe to compete in the European Junior Cycling Tour.

“Our riders returned with good results and once in a lifetime experience,” he said.

Bruintjies said this year will be no different. They are planning to send six riders to this prestigious event from Thursday July 23 to Monday August 3.

“So the biggest cycling race in the world is the Tour de France, right? Well, not if you’re between the ages of five and 18. That would be the week-long European Junior Cycling Tour in Assen, Holland – the Jeugdtour. And it’s about as serious as kids cycle racing gets,” he said.

Bruintjies said it is the pinnacle junior cycling tour with more than 800 riders having entered in the first four minutes after entries were opened.

Bruintjies said their biggest challenge is the cost of the trip, as it works out to R35000 a rider.

“It is a reality that we would always rely on donations, whether in cash or kind. Without this, we would not be able to make a success of providing our future champion cyclists,” he said.

Email or call Bruintjies on 083 532 3445 if you’d like to help.