By Mark Etheridge
Our women’s cycling is on cloud nine after looking to have snatched a third slot in the road race for this year’s Olympic Games in London.
The Tour de Free State which ended in Clarens on Sunday was the final Olympic qualification event before cut-off.
South Africa needed to garner enough points on the UCI points ranking system to put them up amongst the world’s top 13 cycling nations.
Before the race they were in 17th spot and many of the globe’s other nations also sent teams to try and and grab an extra slot. Until this weekend, South Africa had secured two spots.
The UCI rankings were updated on Tuesday and now, after climbing the standings to what is anything but an unlucky 13th spot, they qualify an extra spot which will be vital in the cut-throat world of international team cycle races.
A happy Barry Austin, Cycling South Africa’s national road manager confirmed the spot. “Obviously we still need official verification by the UCI… after this, considering the terrain, the three women will be selected.
“And yes, of course we stand a much better chance with three riders than two ÔÇô┬áif we get to take three, we have succeeded in goal number one!”
There was also good news for our in-form Ashleigh Moolman Pasio who has had a great year on the European circuit. She also won the final stage of the Tour de Free State on Sunday
When the new rankings were released on Tuesday she had shot up from 37th to 23rd on the individual UCI rankings, testimony to some extremely hard work from both her and and the Lotto-Belisol ladies team, consisting mainly of South African┬á and Belgian riders.