2024 Cape Town Cycle Tour cycling development changing lives

2024 Cape Town Cycle Tour cycling development changing lives
2024 Cape Town Cycle Tour cycling development changing lives

25 cyclists from the Nedbank Sports Trust Cycling Development Programme completed the 109 km CTCT, which is far more than an epic challenge for cyclists. For them, it’s about changing lives in communities beset by gangsterism, crime, violence, and teenage pregnancies.

‘The pride on their faces at the end of the race was the greatest reward of the day. The cyclists expressed their joy and feelings of success about being part of the 46th edition of the most beautiful timed cycling race in the world,’ said Mike Tippett, Manager of The Sports Trust Cycling Development Programme. Several of the cyclists were riding new bikes, as Nedbank supplied 25 additional road and mountain bikes to the programme last month.

‘To see these cyclists in the Nedbank green co-branded Sports Trust kit and putting their hearts into the race was deeply inspiring,’ says Poovi Pillay, Executive Head of Corporate Social Investment at Nedbank. ‘The programme is all about building the confidence, self-esteem and commitment of these young cyclists, and it has repeatedly shown how sports participation improves performance in the classroom.’

This year the cyclists are between 15 and 19 years old, including 5 girls. ‘We don’t allow cyclists under the age of 15 to ride the CTCT as 109 km is just too long,’ says Tippett. ‘We don’t want them to be put off. We want them to grow with the sport and aspire to cycle in this event. As part of achieving this, we brought in a new group of 35 younger cyclists from the programme to experience the day and the excitement and atmosphere of the CTCT, which motivates them for next year.’

‘We also don’t always choose the best cyclists – we look for those youngsters who show up with huge enthusiasm,’ says Tippett. ‘The programme’s veteran coach, Charlie Stevens, who have also participated this year, spends time at each of the selected schools to support school coaches. They had an intensive 8-week pretraining programme to focus on physical training, strength work and preparing cyclists mentally and emotionally for the event.’

Also competing this year was Vernon Treu, the champion C3 category paracyclist who is part of the postschool programme. In January this year at the Western Cape Cycling Championships and in February at the SA Championships, he won the individual time trial and the road event in his category at both events. This is the 3rd time that he has competed in the CTCT. ‘We’ve been working on Vernon’s technical skills training, and it is definitely paying off,’ explains Tippett.

The Nedbank Sports Trust Cycling Development Programme has been funded by Nedbank since 2005. Every year it supplies bikes and supports the training and participation of approximately 140 cyclists from under-13 upwards in 12 high schools in the Western Cape, including the Cape Metro, Boland and the West Coast. This year Cloetesville High School in Stellenbosch joined the programme for the 1st time.

The programme is about giving learners, many of them from very difficult backgrounds where there is unemployment and poverty, the opportunity to participate in this wonderful sport and to give them something to focus on in an effort to avoid gangsterism, drugs and teenage pregnancies – all of which are part of their daily lives.

‘Cycling takes them off the streets after school, and provides them with a safe environment,’ Tippett explains. ‘Training takes place on the school grounds on static training bikes or out on the road, with mapped safe routes. We motivate and encourage these young people, and many who have been part of the programme in the past 19 years have built good lives for themselves.’