Team SA’s Jayde Julius celebrates his 26th birthday today (27 August) and does so as part of the gold medal-winning cycling squad competing at the African Games. Happy birthday from all of South Africa, Jayde!
Julius is in Morocco where he is in action again in two days’ time – which is his mother’s birthday. That should be another incentive to add to the gold medal he won when helping Ryan Gibbons, Kent Main and Jason Oosthuizen to the team time trial gold. Gary Lemke, Team SA’s media representative at the African Games, caught up with him to ask a few questions.
Who is your sporting role model?
That has to be Cristiano Ronaldo, surely. His dedication, focus, talent and obvious success puts him right up there at the top of the list in terms of athletes one can look up to. I haven’t met him yet, but you never know, perhaps the time will come when I’m racing in a big cycling event in Europe!
Explain what it means to you to be representing South Africa in international competition.
It means everything to me because when we represent our country it feels like we carry them on our shoulders – and it was definitely the case here at the African Games. As a South African this is definitely a dream come true for me.
What do you listen to when you are warming up for an event?
I try and get in the zone indeed with some good music. Moby, Chris Brown, Drake and some good rock and roll are all on my playlist. It works wonders to get me ready.
What are your favourite cycling memories?
There are plenty of them – and the gold medal here in Morocco has added to them. But, definitely winning the African Championship with Team SA in Pietermaritzburg as a U23 ranks right up there with them.
What is your favourite country (apart from South Africa, of course).
It has to be Portugal. I was there recently again and I love it there. It’s very chilled out and has some beautiful beaches.
What is your favourite app on your phone?
It has to be Instagram … you gotta love it (laughs).
If you weren’t a world-class cyclist what would you be?
What are your goals for the next two years?
My main ambition is to strive for a win at the Tour de France. It’s the biggest cycle race in the world and I believe that a stage win is in me. I know deep within myself that I can achieve that, for sure.
Who has been your greatest influence growing up?
Definitely my dad. He is always full of courage and lifts me up when I’m down and he is always the first person I want to see when I have success.