Byron Munton is delighted to have joined South African team Alfa Bodyworks-Giant following a stint racing in Europe this year.
The Cape Town-based rider, who turns 20 in December, raced for the French-based Martigues Sport Cycling alongside compatriot Brandon Downes.
“They saw some potential in me so they told me that when I get back from Europe we can talk and see what they can do for me to secure a possible future,” Munton told In the Bunch.
Racing in Europe was an “eye-opener”, Munton said, but they did not get to participate in many races in France due to “problems with racing licences”.
He returned to South Africa at the end of June and first rode again for Alfa Bodyworks-Giant as a guest rider, before they offered him the opportunity to join the set-up.
“I was off the bike for about three weeks [prior to that] due to injury, so I didn’t put too much pressure on myself to perform for the team,” he said.
“I just wanted to get back into the swing of things to see how it went and how I was able to help the team in whichever way possible.”
However, in his first official race for the team he managed to win the 60km category-1 Raithby Road Race near Somerset West at the beginning of September, edging his teammate Rohan du Plooy to the line.
“My legs were really good on the day,” he said. “I managed to get away in the first move and we just stayed away.
“We rode on an undulating 10km circuit which we went around six times.
“I was joined by Jarrod van den Heever after I counter-attacked a move, but he dropped off on the next lap.
“From there on I was in time-trial mode, holding onto a one-minute time gap, before Rohan joined me on the last lap with about 3km to go.” In the end he beat Du Plooy by milliseconds.
Du Plooy won the 106km race, with teammates Bernard Esterhuizen and Nicol Carstens coming home in second and third place respectively.
Munton did not take part in that race because he said he was still “getting to top form”.
However, he believed the team as a whole had a promising future ahead of it.
“The atmosphere is really good at the moment and we have a great combination of riders.
“We have a good variety of cyclists who all complement one another and we get along very well too, so I think the future is quite good.”
The team comprises six riders, Munton said, himself included. “I think I will be able to grow a lot as a rider in this team as opposed to riding on my own like I did previously.
“This will form a very good foundation for me. Heading into the road nationals [early next year], we will at least be riding as a team and not as individuals.