Bizkaia-Durango have signed South African riders Heidi Dalton and Lise Olivier for 2016. The team press release reads:
Two more riders, with a huge experience in international races, will be part of the Bizkaia-Durango UCI Women’s Team for the 2016 season. These two cyclists are the South Africans Heidi Dalton and Lise Olivier, riders who have already achieved victories in UCI races.
Heidi Dalton (1995) is one of the young talents in South African women’s cycling. 2016 will be her third season as an Under-23 rider and in these last two years she has been able to reach the podium in the Elite South African National Championships, both in the Time Trial and the Road Race. In 2015 she also got nine top-10 places at international races. “I would like to say thank you to Bizkaia-Durango for this opportunity to go over and race in Europe. I have spent a couple of years racing in Europe, and for any cyclist they will know it is what you need to improve and get better. I am very excited for next year and joining the team,” Dalton claims.
In the other hand, Lise Olivier (1983) is a climber who has gotten top-5 places in very prestigious, European races such as the Route de France, in which she ended 4th in the 2012 overall. In 2015 she got up to seven top-5 places at international races, including two bronze medals — Road Race and Time Trial — in the African Games. “You do not have control over when opportunities come along, but you can make sure you take advantage of them when they do. This opportunity with Bizkaia-Durango was very unexpected but I am very grateful and excited to join the team. 2016 will be a very busy year for me personally juggling running my own South African based team, hands-on involvement in the development of cycling in Africa, the Cycling South Africa Women’s Commission and driving my own cycling ambitions. Racing with the Bizkaia-Durango UCI Women’s Team in Europe will give me the ideal opportunity to qualify for Olympic selection — South Africa will most likely qualify three riders for Rio de Janeiro,” says Olivier, who also talks about being teammate with another two African riders in Bizkaia-Durango: “To be joined in the team by Kim Le Court [they were already teammates], as well as fellow South African National Team member, Heidi Dalton, will be very special. We are all very good friends and get along great. This will sure have a positive impact on the entire team.”
Sara Olsson is looking forward to putting 2015 behind her, and has hinted at some “very high goals” she is aiming for in the new year. A case of pleurisy earlier this year and a change of team from Matrix to Team Inpa has led to a renewed focus for her career. She also has a new coach, Richard Larsén.
The Cadel Road Race has a new name sponsor for 2016 and 2017. It will now be called Deakin University Elite Women’s Race, with Wiggle Honda and Orica-AIS confirmed so far.