Much was expected from DSV’s LEADout development cycling team after a successful 2019 – but the coronavirus pandemic turned attention from podium finishes to meeting school challenges learners face in poorer communities.
The DSV LEADout programme complements our sponsorship of DSV Pro Cycling, our professional cycling team, and our #DSVActive programme which encourages all our employees to lead healthy, balanced lives. The LEADout initiative was the brainchild of former pro cyclist Malcolm Lange and the team’s coach Barry Austin, while Malcolm’s company Lange Sports manages the ProCycling team.
The team consists of Oudtshoorn-based Benino Hans, Breyton Hendricks and Charlize Murphy – and the only race completed this calendar year was the 72km Leopard Crawl MTB Marathon event – and Benino was the overall winner of the race.
One of our goals when the pandemic and lockdown started was to make sure our matric learners had the same opportunities to keep up with their studies. They needed data and access to electronics to do their school work, and only once this was in place, attention turned to finding an indoor training solution.
Barry said they soon got hold of an indoor smart trainer and subscribed the learners to the online Zwift platform. The smart trainer was a significant commitment but will prove valuable in future talent identification in lesser developed regions.
An early smart trainer highlight was the participation of Benino and Breyton in the South African e-racing Championships.
Although racing is slowly opening up again, so too are schools and it’s expected major races will clash with finals exams. “While we are going to keep supporting them with the coaching, the focus has shifted to school work,” said Barry. “We are using this period to strategise on how to win back some opportunities for the learners.”
Charlize is vice-head girl and an A student, and will certainly be moving on into a tertiary institution with her CV. Breyton is in grade 9, so 2021 could still provide the needed chance to shine as a junior rider to gain opportunities in post-school sport.
Benino falls into the category of learner who could be most affected by Covid. Sport is his enabler to life after school. “With no racing season to do the final touches and “sell” himself to elite clubs, we will have to find ways to try give him that chance to make it into the sporting world. We will sit down with the Eden District Council to see how we can partner to make it happen.”
**The development programme began in December 2018 when Eden District Cycling was identified as a suitable region to support the search for cycling talent. The programme supports two riders on a continuing basis, although we have extended that to three riders with the support of the Eden District Sport Council.
DSV is in partnership with LEADout Sport, a cycling academy whose mission is to identify a new generation of talented riders with the potential to participate in the top tier of cycling, and introduce them to sustainable development during their junior and under 23 cycling years.
The programme is aligned with our CSR commitments where our community engagement primarily focuses on projects that relate to children and related infrastructure, wellness challenges and community projects, where there are tangible and sustainable results satisfying the “touch, see and feel” criteria.
The riders all live at home with their families in Oudtshoorn, where they attend school. In fact, each rider must meet academic and sporting targets to stay with the programme, and additional academic support is provided where needed.