Team Infinita, which only started out last year with a contingent of junior riders, on Saturday announced a four-man team to compete throughout the 2018 season.
The team members are Ryan Terry, Damion Gomez, Kimhan Kleynsheldt and Emile Fourie. Team manager Bosseau Boshoff also confirmed he is on the lookout to sign two more riders.
Boshoff said towards the end of last year some of the riders moved over to another sponsor and he did not even know if he would be able to assemble a team for 2018.
“Thankfully there were new youngsters coming through the system,” he told In the Bunch today. “They were really keen to jump onboard and get the same exposure the previous guys got last year.”
Boshoff said he got a team together – based in the Nelspruit region – comprising mountain-bikers who wanted to “try their luck on the road”.
“I started the team last year with mainly youngsters, 17- and 18-year-olds who I could see, as individuals, got lost at races. I then grouped them together and started training camps.”
Boshoff, who is also the high performance coach at the Infinita Training Academy, said the Infinita “baby was born” at the first training camp in December when African cyclist of the year Louis Meintjes helped mentor the riders for four days.
“To have been able to get WorldTour riders involved [in the training camps] – sitting around the dinner table and going for training rides – gave so much motivation and insight to the young riders.
“They got a good understanding of the sort of commitment it takes to become a world-class rider.
“At the same time, Daryl was here in December training for the Tour Down Under, so it was a good opportunity for him too. Development of the sport is very important to him.”
Boshoff said for him it was important to have a team with an assortment of experience levels. “I try to get some first-year juniors in the team so that they learn from the guys who rode for me last year.
“They learn from one another all the time without even noticing. The same principle applies to the different formats of cycling.
“I currently have one rider who has just come from enduro racing and knows very little about the road.
“He will, for example, learn a lot from Ryan [Terry] who I have been working a lot with for the last four to five years.”
It was important to instil a sense of culture in the riders and not just coach them on how to cycle, Boshoff said.
“I try to teach them how to carry themselves, what lifestyles to follow and even how and what to cook for themselves.
“They learn from each other in such a way that they realise what they have to do in order to win races. That is when the penny drops; they then evolve a lot quicker than if they were on their own.
“That is why it is important to associate these juniors with pro riders. My ultimate goal is to get them to the top. As soon as they reach under-23 level I want one of the bigger teams to sign them.”
Just like last year, Boshoff is planning and preparing the team to race in Belgium in July.
“The racing over there is flat-out from the word go. If you come back from Belgium and still want to be a cyclist, then you know it is something to pursue.”
Infinita’s first race of the season was the Berge en Dale Championship in Krugersdorp last weekend, where Terry won the juniors category and finished 10th overall. The team’s next focus is on the Emperors Palace Road Classic on March 25.