Lutho Maxegana
CAPE TOWN - An initiative which aims to support and introduce budding cyclists to the international field has taken young riders by storm.

Sixteen young cyclists were selected at the Cape Rouleur Prologue to participate in the HotChillee Development Cycling Programme in 2017. That number will be whittled down to three who will get an opportunity of racing in the London to Paris race, a professional cycling event for amateur cyclists.

Founder of Hotchillee Development Cycling Programme Sven Thiele said the race was a perfect proving ground for riders to make the jump into professional cycling.

“We provide the riders with contacts, we also introduce them to the international market and we support them as best as we can with their cycling.”

He said initially the children were scared to take on seasoned cyclists, but they had adapted well. Junior under 19 national cycling champion Ashleigh Parsons, 17, said she was practically forced into cycling as her home family was involved with it.

“I hope I will be one of the three cyclists chosen to participate internationally, that would be a dream for me.”

Seasoned cyclist Shameeg Salie, 21, from Grassy Park, was one of the cyclists chosen by the programme to race internationally. One of Salie’s long-term goals is to participate in the Tour de France.

Budding racer and future “cycle tour champion” Lutho Maxengana, who will be racing in the Cycle Tour, said he hopes to be a professional cyclist one day.

“I am no longer just racing for the fun of it, I regard this as a profession now. Maxengana is part of the Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy.

Cape Argus