A concerted team effort involving all parties lies behind the Demacon Ladies cycling team’s domination of South African road races this year.
When SA national road champion Carla Oberholzer surged over the finish line to win the 140km Kremetart event in the Soutpansberg region at the weekend, it marked the 10th road success for the team in 2018.
Even though they have a well-balanced outfit, team captain Lynette Burger described their 10 wins from 10 one-day races as “amazing”.
“We knew we had a strong team, with climbers and sprinters for all types of routes, but these efforts exceeded our expectations,” she said.
“There is always very good competition and you almost sometimes wonder, ‘when are we going to lose?’, but we go into every race with a positive mindset.
“We knew we could have a good year, but this is great on a number of levels.
“The success helps to keep our sponsors happy and it also means we have set the benchmark, which keeps the pressure on us to maintain a high standard.”
Playing a significant role is the partnership with HEAD Bikes SA, who have come on board as technical sponsor.
The company distributes the world-renowned HEAD bicycle in South Africa and Burger said this had contributed to their success.
“Carla has been on her bike for a couple of months and she loves it – the results speak for themselves,” said Burger.
“The rest of the team received their bikes at the end of April and we are very happy.
“It helps our team to look like a unit, making a statement that we are there for business. HEAD Bikes SA has given us a lot of support on and off the bikes.”
Besides the HEAD Bike SA arrangement, the team have concluded a deal with Positive Sports Solutions to be supplied with Gipiemme wheels this year. The SA company is the sole distributor of the highly-rated Italian brand in southern Africa.
“We have each received a set of C32 carbon tubby clincher wheels, which is fantastic,” she said.
“With the small profile of carbon, it is a really good wheel for all racing conditions.”
Burger added that the support of financial sponsor Demacon for the past four years had also meant a great deal.
“It makes things so much easier knowing that Demacon is behind us.”
Besides their sponsorship support, she said the team dynamic, with everyone working towards a common goal, had been the key to their success.
“We are not greedy and it does not matter who we race for on the day as each and every one puts her heart and soul into it.
“In addition, our manager, David Pieterse, and our mechanic, Stefan Oberholzer, both sacrifice a lot.
“With David’s experience, we know we can do anything as he gives us such good advice. They believe in us as much as we believe in them.”
Their wins have come from Oberholzer (SA Nationals, Ride for Sight, Berge en Dale, Vulintaba Extreme, Kremetart), Kim le Court (Cape Town Cycle Tour, Emperors Palace Classic, Tour Durban, 100 Cycle Challenge) and Burger (Fast One).
CAPTION: Demacon Ladies member Carla Oberholzer races for the line in the Bestmed Berge en Dale road race earlier this year, one of the 10 wins the team have racked up this season. Picture: Mariola Biela