Top Port Elizabeth road and track cyclist Bradley Gouveris was due to leave at the end of the month to start his first stint with French team CR4C Roanne.
But this major career move has had to be put on hold due to the global spread of the coronavirus.
“We need to try take the positives out of the situation, even though I’m really disappointed not to be leaving for France right now as planned,” said Gouveris, who was scheduled to ride for the outfit from April to August.
The 22-year-old says fortunately in South Africa they can still ride their bicycles outside, even though the virus has caused “absolute chaos with the racing”.
“With a lot of racing going on in the first two months of the year we can now relax and just enjoy riding for a little bit with our friends, which I think is also good for competitive cyclists.”
Gouveris has not yet raced internationally.
“This was going to be my first season and taste of European racing.
“Obviously, like any kid, the ultimate goal is to ride the Tour de France one day. One also has to be realistic though, so to make it to continental level for me would be my goal.
“If I manage to succeed in doing that I will then push with all my might for more.”
He added that down the years the sport had taught him persistence.
“It has also taught me to take an opportunity and run with it. Ninety per cent of the time things don’t go according to plan, so it’s important that when you get an opportunity you grab it with both hands and don’t look back.
“Cycling is a tough sport. You get introduced into the elite category at a young age. You have to learn to fight for your place and not be scared.
“This has helped a lot with maturity in everyday life. Cycling really does prepare you to be tough.”
Gouveris, who was about seven when he received his first road bike and has been racing ever since, said cycling had always been a passion for him.
“From the moment I climbed onto my first bicycle I was hooked and I’ve loved riding ever since then.
“I think what really grabbed me was when I won my first ever national title on the track in the U14 category. Ever since that day the sport has been my life.
“I live for riding my bike and don’t see that changing any time soon.”
It was a sport with many obstacles and was never smooth sailing, he said.
“I got hit by a car a few years ago and it still sometimes gives me trouble with my right knee. For me the most important part is managing it.
“Another huge obstacle for me has been trying to get overseas. I’ve pushed and tried for a very long time and have just persisted. Eventually someone will notice how badly you want it and give you a chance.
“So to all those involved in giving me the chance to get overseas, I will always be grateful. I’m not sure what will happen this year with the virus, but all one can do is just stay positive and prepared at all times.”
Gouveris said the best part had been just getting to ride his bike every day, which was something to be grateful for.
“Obviously it’s always nice to win races, but one has to learn that you often fail more than you succeed, which is great for character building.”