James Reid, one of South Africa's brightest young bicycle racing talents, has been snapped up by the professional squad Nedbank Team 360Life for 2012. Reid joins two of South Africa's most accomplished professional racers, Kevin Evans and David George, on a team that's had a successful first year in 2011.
Racing in his first year as an under 23, Reid captured the 2011 African Continental cross country title and 2011 South African National Series cross country title, a rare achievement for a rider fresh out of the junior ranks. In 2010, Reid finished 11th at the junior cross country world championships in Canada.
"James is a very exciting 19-year-old, who has excelled at his preferred discipline, cross country racing. The ability of Nedbank Team 360Life to integrate him into an already existing team of two of South Africa's top professional cyclists is critical in harnessing his current abilities and enabling his future success within the sport," said Lance Blumeris, Managing Director of Nedgroup Life.
"Being able to learn from David and Kevin ordinarily would take years and given the limited number of world class mountain bikers in South Africa, the timing of being able to invest in James was perfect."
Reid will continue to focus on cross country racing. George, winner of the 2011 MTN National Marathon Series and Evans, a four-time South African marathon champion, will continue to team up with a key focus on marathons and stage races in 2012, including their quest to be the first South African team to win the Cape Epic,
"For me, Olympic cross country racing will still be the main focus. I think that at my age I need to be careful and stay away from the long distance marathon and stage races as it will compromise the explosive speed and power needed for the shorter, more intense nature of cross country racing," said Reid.
"I am incredibly excited to be working with David and Kevin, as well as to be part of the professional support structure of Nedbank Team 360Life. I know that many cyclists do not have the same opportunity at this stage of their careers, but it is an opportunity that I hope to use to become world class," said Reid, who will focus over the next few years on winning the under 23 cross country world championship title.
"To be incorporated into what is essentially a specialist stage-racing team, with the freedom and opportunity to race full-time cross country on an international basis is a fantastic opportunity, and speaks volumes about Nedbank's commitment to make things happen for South Africans involved in sporting disciplines," said Reid.