South African cyclist Nicholas Dlamini
Daniel Cole / POOL / AFP
- Nicholas Dlamini says Team SA has a “strong” cycling squad ahead of this month’s Tokyo Olympics.
- After an heroic effort at the ongoing Tour de France, the 25-year-old now turns his attention to the rescheduled Games.
- Although he will be making his Olympic debut, Dlamini insists it’s just another race.
Nicholas Dlamini believes the South African cycling team will be the “dark horses” ahead of this month’s Tokyo Olympics.
Dlamini was one of the first names announced in Team SA’s Olympic squad for this year’s rescheduled Games, which is scheduled to get under way from 23 July to 8 August.
This past weekend, Dlamini fell outside of the time limit in a tough ninth stage of the Tour de France as he received rapturous applause from fans at the finish line.
Despite Dlamini’s Tour de France being cut short, the 25-year-old now turns his attention to competing in his first Olympics.
“I have to talk to my coach on whether we’ll play one or two events before the Olympics. Doing the whole Tour would’ve been ideal but we have to find an alternative,” Dlamini told reporters on Monday.
Following Daryl Impey’s withdrawal from the Olympic squad due to an injury, Stefan de Bod was added to the small cycling team.
Dlamini joins fellow countrymen Ryan Gibbons and De Bod in the men’s 234km road race, which begins on 24 July from Musashinonomori Park to Fuji Speedway.
“We’ve got a young team for the Olympics. We’re all different riders and we can be the dark horses in the race. I can go into breakaways in the climbs, if it gets to sprint, we have Ryan,” said Dlamini.
“We have a strong team, it would’ve been nice to have Darryl, who is recovering. His experience would’ve helped and I think it’s going to be a good race.
“We’re all looking forward to it, it’s guys we often race in the season. It’s nothing new, it’s just another big race in Japan.”
Team SA’s cycling team for the Tokyo Olympics:
Daryl Impey, Ryan Gibbons, Nicholas Dlamini, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Carla Oberholzer
Alan Hatherly, Candice Lill
Charlene du Preez, David Maree, Jean Spies