The Confederation of African Cycling (CAC) will be hosting an international cycling forum, which takes place in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, from 30 July to 6 August 2015. The CAC Forum will present a range of activities and services, such as a coaching course, commissaire’s course, mechanic’s course and anti-doping workshops, getting together to arm the African nations with new cycling knowledge and to share best practices. The gathering of key cycling representatives from all the African nations encourages the sharing of information, best practices and success stories and cements the need for good corporate governance values to ensure that cycling receives the greatest input to make it the best that it can be on the continent.
It also provides an opportunity to establish or strengthen bonds between the National Federations. Cycling South Africa President, William Newman, says: ‘There is great benefit in hosting a lot of the African countries, both for the city and for cycling in South Africa. It provides an opportunity for us to showcase our environment in which we operate, particularly with Pietermaritzburg being Africa’s Bike City. KwaZulu-Natal government has provided an immense amount of support for cycling over the years. It shows that Pietermaritzburg is a key city in partnering with cycling.’ The UCI (International Cycling Union) will take the lead in driving the UCI African Sharing Platform, which was successfully initiated two years ago.
Twelve National Federations were in attendance in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, for a two-day workshop to share knowledge and network. Newman says: ‘In order to build on the magnificent success by Team MTN Qhubeka at the Tour de France, we have to ensure that all our African Federations are geared up for growth and development. Equipping Federation’s with this knowledge and good corporate governance tools will go a long way in ensuring that we can manage the influx of riders sparked by Team MTN Qhubeka’s success.’ Apart from information sharing, the CAC Forum also provides an opportunity for the National Federations to showcase what they are doing for the sport.
Newman says: ‘Our focus is to grow and develop the sport and to host international events on the continent. In South Africa, we have a good National programme but we need to host more international competitions, specifically for the road and track cycling disciplines.’ Newman stressed the need for a National Road Tour on South African soil. Newman says: ‘The KZN Autumn Series is a step in the right direction; hosting three UCI point-scoring road races provides our local riders with a good chance to earn UCI points at home. It is all about creating a base so that we can fulfil a mandate to grow our sport and increase competition amongst our top riders. Women’s cycling is also a key focus area for us on the continent, and great strides are being made to lift the exposure of this vital element of the sport. The establishment of Women’s Commissions at National Federation and Confederation levels go a long way in growing Women’s Cycling in Africa.’
Newman serves as a Management Committee Member on the CAC Board and is also the President of the Track Commission for CAC. One of Newman’s main deliverables is to grow the discipline of track cycling on the continent, and hosting the first African Continental Track Championships in South Africa this year was a big step in the right direction. Newman says: ‘The first African Continental Track Champs were held in 2001 but there was no continuation from there. This year we hosted an African Champs in Pietermaritzburg and the aim is to continue them annually. Presenting African cyclists with Continental Championships is critical for the growth of the discipline and helps our riders with their Olympic qualification points and also helps to get them to World Championships.’
The UCI’s drive to globalise the sport has continued at great pace in recent years with a record number of events and teams registered and Elite athletes coming from a growing range of countries around the world.
Photo credit: Craig Dutton/pics2go.co.za