Argus Lite.

The pro ladies raced over a shortened 76km route for the 2018 Cape Town Cycle Tour and, for the first time in memory, the final result was not decided by the men.

CASHANDRA SLINGERLAND won the African TT championship in 2009 and, although officially retired, she continues to race, albeit a few age categories below her ID book, to give the youngsters grief. She writes about issues facing women and cycling for Ride, this being the May/June contribution.

We are a quarter into 2018 and its looking good for the rest of the year. Ladies cycling is on a rise and the fun is starting; we have seen more ladies on the start line than last year, the new faces standing in the Licensed group is something to be proud of. We had the Ride for Sight in Boksburg (yip, we got to use our passports) in February, and when the start gun went off we had a group of 40 ladies. Not bad for a ladies-only group. Everyone rode positively and contributed to the race, we did notice a few ladies took to the Licensed group for the first time; a few helpful tips were given, we hope to see them all at the upcoming races.

And then we were given the opportunity to have a invitational ladies-only start group for the Cape Town Cycle Tour. Now, this might not sound like such a great achievement, but you need to understand that it’s taken 15 years of discussions to get the organisers to acknowledge the ladies, and that they to deserve to race where the outcome of the podium is not determined on how many men you have working for you on that day. The results for 2018 can honestly be awarded to the strongest team and rider of the day and not to who sat behind the strongest man. Some say that this brings down the average and intensity of the ladies race, which is true, but why do the ladies who train every day (just as the men do) not deserve to show their dedication and commitment in the largest timed race in the world? I take my hat off to the organisers for pulling this off and allowing the ladies and their sponsors to have their day in the Sun. Well done; I hope that in the future of the CTCT we can eventually have the same distance as the rest of the 35 000, but for now we are extremely happy with where this is going.

Thank you, Mr Bellairs.

I am very happy to write that the recent Emperors race really surprised me. It was strongly attended by U/23 riders; if this is what we have to offer for our future in cycling, we are going from strength to strength. The racing was aggressive and strongly contested, and it seemed the ladies were still on a high from the CTCT. It was great to see how ladies racing can be if everyone is motivated.

We are sending a strong group of ladies to the Commonwealth games in April, representing us on the track, with a good chance of coming home with a medal. We will be watching and supporting. We only chose one lady to represent us on the road, but unfortunately Ashleigh has other commitments with her sponsors for the European racing season, where she is doing us all proud.

Ladies, please keep your pedals turning, and the best place to ask for advice and inside information is the ladies you see on the road; all of us are willing to help and share our knowledge and experience with you.