Olivier has a big year ahead of her after signing with UCI women’s team, Team Bizkaia-Durango. The team received a wildcard invitation to compete in the Giro Rosa in 2016, which was increased her motivation. “For the first time in about three years I was able to put in some solid base training over December. I really enjoyed riding my bike that much again,” she said.

Cycling South Africa Women's Commission Director, Lise Olivier, has signed with UCI women’s team and 2016 Giro Rosa wildcard invitation recipient, Team Bizkaia-Durango. Olivier is ready and in full preparation ahead of the 2016 SA National Road Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships in KwaZulu-Natal from 10-14 February. Photo: Craig Dutton

Beginning her season with the Mpumalanga Tour, Olivier mentioned that her preparation has been on par to previous years where she had ended up on the podium.

The year isn’t going to be an easy one, with balancing training and work commitments as well as managing the women’s Time Freight eTeam, but Olivier is hoping for great results for the team in the Road Race. “The competition will be significantly higher this year than what we have seen over the past few years, which will surely make this an exciting race to follow,” she said.

“As in previous years, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio should be the hot favourite for the Road Race and the Time Trial but, as I mentioned before, I do believe that the competition will be considerably higher this year,” she added.

When chatting about the Road Race, Olivier said: “The Clover-Prestigio team was started in 2015 and have boosted their roster going into 2016, which includes newcomer Yzette Oelofse. They currently have five very solid riders and with proper teamwork they should be able to pull off a great result as a team. Team POC’s An-Li Kachelhoffer is said by Olivier to be in very good form, as well as the power duo of Team Activate/DEMACON, Heidi Dalton and Lynette Burger.”

With women's cycling constantly on the rise in the country, cycling fans and friends await in anticipation to see what's in store for the 2016 SA National Road Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships in KwaZulu-Natal from 10-14 February. Photo: Craig Dutton

She also spoke about the talented mountain biker, Samantha Sanders. As a newcomer of the road cycling discipline, Sanders showed spectators and other riders just what she could be capable of on a Time Trial bike at the Mpumalanga Tour last month. Olivier also acknowledged the admirable speed of Dalton in a Time Trial, and said that another name to watch was veteran World Champion, Juanita Venter, riding for Team Bianchi.

Two fabulous venues will play host to the 2016 SA National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships, with the Time Trial and Para-cycling division being held in the Wartburg/ Noodsburg/ Harburg area from 10-11 February, and the Road Races taking place in Westville/ Durban from 13-14 February. For event information regarding dates, accommodation and road closures, please visit http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-sa-road-champs/.