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Claims of racism in Cape cycling

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As thousands of cyclists prepare for the Cape Argus Cycle Tour this weekend, claims of alleged racism have surfaced in the cycling fraternity. Alfa Body Works Pro Cycling team, the only Muslim owned professional cycling team in the province, have raised serious allegations against Cycling South Africa – following their attempts to resolve the matters with the governing body.

Alfa Body Works Pro Cycling Team was started in 2016 and consists of predominantly Muslim and coloured cyclists, under the age of 25. The team consists of eight senior and three junior professional cyclists. The team was established to give underprivileged riders an opportunity to cycle in a professional team and currently they are dominating many races on the cycling scene.

Speaking to VOC on Friday, team manager Gerald Frances said there was “a deliberate attempt” by race organisers and Cycling SA officials to block media coverage of the team’s achievements.

“All the big cycling websites and magazine are all white owned and we have never been mentioned on these platforms,” he said.

Frances also called into question the implementation of the rules and the inconsistency of officials, accusing Cycling SA officials of constantly negating cycling results.

“We are constantly having decisions made against us by white commissaires at the races,” he said.

Other concerns are the representation in the Western Cape’s top cycling teams, where they are reportedly no cyclists of colour.

“Every province and region under the auspices of Cycling SA is headed by white individuals,” Frances added.

There are also claims that white cyclists are given first preference to participate in international races as coloured cyclists cannot financially afford to.

According to Frances, Alfa Body Works is not getting the support they need as a ‘previously disadvantaged’ team.

Frances has called for the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) to carry out a full investigation into the cycling fraternity in Cape Town and to meet with local clubs and teams on their concerns.

In a telephone conversation with VOC News on Thursday, Cycling SA president William Newman said he was not aware of any such complaints. However, VOC News was privy to emails sent to him and other CSA officials by Alfa Body Works asking for remedial action on these issues. Newman was however adamant that the team should “follow the official channels”. VOC

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