Welcome to the latest edition of Data Sets and Beating Hearts. In the past week we achieved a first, exciting milestone for the team, winning the inaugural Zwift Tour for All e-race. The team were impressive throughout the race and Michael Gogl and Louis Meintjes secured stage wins for us.
In other news, the UCI has announced the provisional calendar, and we look forward to returning to racing from the 1st of August, starting in Italy. It promises to be a very busy but hugely exciting time, and we will be ready to go from the gun!
Wishing you a great week,
Cycling is a sport that has always pushed boundaries. From the very first edition of the Tour de France in 1903, to the adoption of carbon fibre composites in bike design and the implementation of the biological passport in the fight against doping. The sport of cycling has always been at the forefront of technology, science and human imagination.
The Covid-19 pandemic has put a temporary stop to almost every sport, and largely brought the world to a standstill. As a consequence, millions of athletes are unable to get their daily fix of exercise as worldwide restrictions are placed on their citizens by their governments.
But not our sport, we have an exciting alternative: welcome to the rise of Virtual Cycling. It is the way forward during the Covid-19 pandemic, as we have an advantage over most others; from a recreational level right to the pinnacle of professional sports.
Over the past fortnight we have been lucky enough to participate in two virtual races, the Digital Swiss 5 and the Tour for All on the Zwift platform, where we took the overall win as well as two stage victories. Both have been exciting experiences, giving us a first-hand taste into virtual racing and providing a new set of thrilling challenges. The Zwift Tour for All, in support of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), has been broadcast on GCN and Eurosport giving global exposure to our partners, while still allowing our riders to compete against the very best, and for our partners and fans to cheer us on.
So, what does the future hold? It looks to be one with both tarmac and computer screens, a mix which tips its hat to both the traditional and the modern. A future where cycling can incorporate both traditional and virtual racing to provide new experiences to fans and engage with younger generations, bringing us even closer than ever before.
We won the inaugural Zwift #TourForAll after Louis Meintjes won the 5th and final stage, which had the finish line perched up at the summit of the Alpe du Zwift climb. Michael Gogl also won stage 2 for us. The Tour for All is in support of Doctors Without Borders/Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF). You can find out more here.
Our riders based in Spain, Andorra and South Africa have been allowed to ride outside after 35-50 days inside.
Role in the team: Head of Logistics. It is my job to make sure that everybody on the team, both riders and staff, get to where they need to be as smoothly as possible. I book around a 1000 flights per year and cover all the hotel bookings for this team of around 85 people, travelling around the world almost all year long.
The extensive travelling that goes with racing across all continents is usually not the most fun part of the job for the riders and staff. I get a lot of satisfaction from what I do when people thank me for making sure their travels are arranged as conveniently as possible.I am also in contact with the race organisers to handle all the admin around our participation as a team and I manage our internal logistics platform where the team members can find all the logistical information related to the races.
Duration with the team: 4th season since November 2016.
Best moment, so far: the Qhubeka bike handovers I got to attend during our winter (November) training camps in South Africa. In November 2016, my very first month with the team, I had the honour of visiting a school in a small rural town in the Western Cape and got to personally hand over a bike to a little girl called Frengeline. Seeing her ecstatic smile and realising that this bike, which would enable her to cover the long distance to school would change her life for the better, was an amazing and eye-opening experience that will stay with me forever. So right from the start I realized I was part of team that is not just a cycling team, but a team that is racing for a cause. How is that for daily motivation!