YOUNG cyclists from the Eastern Cape team returned home victorious after winning the annual Oudtshoorn Youth Fest last month.
The 22 athletes, including cyclists from Port Elizabeth, outperformed teams from the Western Province, Eden, West Coast, Winelands and Free State to win the competition for the first time ever.
Stand out athletes included Alex Fanicchi, Madison Mann and Eben Hartslief, who were the top athletes in their age divisions.
Team manager and coach for Eastern Wheelers Youth Cycling Club, Luca Fanicchi, said: “The team achieved phenomenal results and the kids had fun and really loved the cycling. It was wonderful to see the team spirit between the East London and PE group. There was much singing, shouting and dancing. “The benefit that kids gained from the experience was invaluable. They started out a bit nervous for the first race but grew in confidence. The festival focuses on development of children in cycling. The adults in the club are so important for this as they help guide the kids,” Fanicchi said.
The competition’s objective is to create opportunities for all cyclists under-18 to compete on a regular basis against other riders with similar abilities.
The competition also assists provinces with development of transformation goals and allows younger athletes to achieve their full potential, as they no longer compete in the SA Champs. The event was open to any interested participants.
The four-day challenge included a mountainous road race varying from 14 to 105km (depending on children’s ages), a 1.3km hill climb up to Cango Caves, a time trial, a criterium event and a mountain bike event varying from 5.8km to 22.2km. Children competed in their various age groups and were scored based on their positions.
The Eastern Cape group achieved the most points, securing themselves first place ahead of Western Province in second and Eden in third.