Former Tour of Ireland best young rider Hazel Magill, from Bellville, has been included in the Bestmed-ASG squad’s rider line-up for the 2018 season.
The 22-year-old said she had been approached by the South African women’s team in September after returning from Europe where she had raced for six months.
“I was in contact with the team, but nothing was finalised,” said Hazel, who swopped a promising career in hockey for one on two wheels four years ago. “It was towards the end of the season, so I was very lucky because one does not often get selected into a team during that time.
“This opportunity has opened a lot of doors for me,” said the former Time Freight and POC rider.
Hazel said there were many benefits to being part of a high-profile team.
“Being in the team means you automatically learn lots of life skills, how to handle certain situations and how to work together. Not many teams are so well structured.”
Even though she competed in the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2013 and in the 2015 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup event in Switzerland, she said her initial role would be that of domestique.
“My duty will be to help my teammates and protect the main rider. I do believe you need to earn your place in a team first.
“I can’t just come in and say everyone should work for me, because I want to win. I’m well aware of that.
“For me it is just better to be told what to do for now, and to work for the team. I’m happy to help someone else win at this point.
“At a later stage, I hope, they will pick a race and say this is the race for me,” she said.
Hazel, who is also eligible to ride for Ireland, added that she was looking forward to learning from and working with her new teammates.
“I know if I give 100% for them now, they will give 100% back when my time comes.”