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Exciting new era for E Cape cycling

Cycling in the Eastern Cape entered a new era when the Eastern Province and Border federations recently merged to form East Cape Cycling (ECC), with Shane Bradfield as president.

Bradfield, previously vice-president of EP Cycling, was elected as the new governing body’s first president at the inaugural annual general meeting in Port Elizabeth last month.

ÔÇ£I believe it is going to work well,ÔÇØ said Bradfield, who is also race director of The Herald VW Cycle Tour, South Africa’s second oldest national classic.

ÔÇ£It changes the whole scenario. We are now working together instead of in competition.ÔÇØ

Bradfield said the amalgamation had broadened the province’s base, which meant more riders and support for the various local races.

According to him, the key focus of ECC’s work would be the development of youth cycling.

ÔÇ£Cycling in the province has become ‘top heavy’ in terms of the average age of riders. We therefore need to expose more youngsters to the sport.ÔÇØ

Bradfield said they would assist high schools in setting up clubs and sending teams to events like the annual Eric van Enter interprovincial schools’ competition. He said some schools, like Grey, already had established clubs.

ÔÇ£We will link up five or six schools in an area and take them on regular rides together.ÔÇØ ECC’s road and mountain bike commissions are currently putting people in place to assist with this.

Cycling SA’s vision to promote development riders, in line with the mandate from government, would now also be carried out more effectively at provincial level, according to Bradfield.

The first item on his agenda is to continue a development project initiated by former EP Cycling president Louis Rossouw, who has joined Cycling SA as technical director.

He is hoping to secure national lottery funds for the development of cycling in the rural Transkei. ÔÇ£There is a massive pool of untapped talent.ÔÇØ

Cycling is the fastest growing recreational sport in the country and Bradfield said he hoped to work closely with local authorities to promote the sport even further in the province.

ÔÇ£The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, for example, has a vision to establish the metro as the sporting capital of South Africa and we can play an important role in making it a reality.ÔÇØ

Bradfield said it was an exciting time for cycling in the Eastern Cape. The SA Road Cycling Championships were provisionally scheduled for PE at the beginning of February with the new Tour of South Africa visiting two weeks later.

In addition, said Bradfield, the South African Masters’ Games would take place in the metro in April.

Bradfield will be supported by vice-president Antoinette Harding (chairman of the mountain bike commission), Jenny Bremner (road) and Johann Nell (track). ÔÇ£YsterÔÇØ Xatasi is the development officer and Sage Ellis the secretary.