Kudos to Dlamini for succeeding, but I wouldn't put too much into his performance. In a lot of races the KoM jersey is an easy pickup for riders willing to go into breakaways. Especially in TDU it didn't seem like anyone besides Dlamini had interest in the jersey.
Seeing as he didn't really push on any of the days, he saved himself for another day, so his tactics were impeccable.
Great for him indeed, just kinda surprised not any of the UniSa riders were up for a challenge.
Scott Bowden gave it a go but wasn't quick enough. I'm just impressed that Dlamini went to his first WT race and decided to try and win something instead of mooching around in the peloton "getting experience".
Qhubeka Assos announce eight-rider roster for French Grand Tour
"I really hope that this will serve as a reference of hope and inspiration to many young South Africans, and people around the world, who have been working really hard to reach their dreams, my hope is that they take from this that anything is possible.
"I want to race the tour to inspire more kids on Qhubeka bikes to follow in my footsteps and to experience the world like I have, for more kids in communities to put their hands up for bikes to work hard like I did, to dream big. I am living my dream."
Dlamini began his journey toward professional cycling at Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy in Khayelitsha in 2009 when he was 14 years old. The academy offered the opportunity for Dlamini to race competitively.
Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy was established in 2003 with the aim of encouraging young people in townships to participate in an after-school cycling programme as an alternative recreational outlet. Pick n Pay has been its primary sponsor since inception.
Cycling each day from Capricorn to Khayelitsha to train with his teammates, Dlamini showed a natural talent for the sport early on.
“Nicholas was a boy with drive and determination you don’t often come across and we decided quite early on to focus on his talent and to groom him,” said Sipho Mona-Lekona, Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy’s general and team manager.
“When you cycle, you get the chance to see places and things you never got to as a youngster growing up in a small township. We didn’t have a car growing up, so as a small boy I was very curious and wanted to experience more, and cycling provided that opportunity for me,” said Dlamini.
“I have a strong mindset and always do everything I can to win. I work consistently on being good at everything that I do and I’m not happy until I achieve what I set out to do.”
Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy today has more than 121 youngsters between the ages of eight and 28 who participate in the cycling programme, which involves daily training of between 10 and 16 hours a week, depending on the age group.