Thulasizwe has taken to cycling like a duck to water

2011-09-03 19:30

Every once in a while when talent like that of 17-year-old cyclist Thulasizwe Mxenge emerges, one is tempted to use old and tired cliches.

In this case it is quite tempting to say the Senaoane Senior Secondary School Grade 11 pupil has taken to the sport like a duck to ­water.

Having been introduced to the sport in 2009 Mxenge is making waves in the junior level of the sport and his achievements have seen him criss-crossing the country and travelling overseas in pursuit of glory.

Last month the lad from Dlamini, Soweto, competed in Germany, Belgium and Holland and took part in a host of events in South Africa.

“I used to see cyclists riding by in my township and eventually approached their leader, Mbongeleni “Mavela” Radebe of the Dlamini Wheelers Cycling Club,” he said this week.

After taking part in a number of races he was invited by Siphiwe Mhlakaza to join the Soweto-based Medscheme Development Cycling Team.

As a member of this team his career has soared, establishing him as a star in the junior category.

To date his achievements include:

» Making the South African national team for the Trofeo Karlsberg 2011 tour;
» Wearing the white and King of the Mountain jersey at the 2011 junior tour;
» Being shortlisted for the Commonwealth Games youth squad;
» Winning the U16 Central Gauteng road race;
» Earning a bronze medal at the South African track team pursuit championships.

His other results include: Norie Cradle challenge ­(winner), Herald VW cycle tour (3rd), Bela Bela challenge (2nd); Lost City classic (2nd); MTN OFM classic (3rd), EPR challenge (2nd).

The cyclist, who lives with his grandparents, elder brother Thamsanqa (22) and an uncle, says his mother ­Nomakhosi is “very happy with my achievements but ­always warns me that I should not let my school work suffer”.

Therein lies the rub: how does he juggle such a hectic schedule with school work?

“Every time I come back from a race I attend extra classes to catch up. Our school finishes at 2pm and I go to extra lessons until 5pm,” he said.

“My teachers have been very helpful.”

Mxenge said last week’s Tour de Free State was his last race for the year. “From now on I will concentrate on my schooling until I finish my exams and then I can race again,” he said.

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