HotChillee Challenge are a new all-female British cycling team who will be heading to South Africa next week to take part in the gruelling Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour. The riders will be posting blogs on BikeRadar to keep us up to date with their training, aspirations and performances leading up to the event, but first we have to introduce them.
Team members include former and current road professionals, and well-known cycling personalities, with UK riders Emma Davies, Alice Monger-Godfrey and Tanja Slater planning to join local legend Penny Krohn at the start line in Cape Town on 8 March. The Pick n Pay Cycle Tour will be their first official outing as a team.
Emma davies:Adam Tranter/fusion-media.co.uk
Emma Davies won a bronze medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, just six months after she was nearly paralysed in a hit-and-run accident while out training. She suffered a compressed stress fracture in her lower back after part of her bone broke and became lodged just 2mm from her spinal cord. After fighting her way back to health, Emma set up a charity to raise money for the spinal injury unit that helped her in Salford, Manchester, called Emma’s Spinal Hope.
Born in Knutsford, Cheshire, Davies made her first appearance for Great Britain as a junior and went on to complete in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics. After her accident she moved from the track to ride for women’s road team Vlaanderen and Swift Racing, based in Oudenaarde, Belgium. She recently retired from the stress of professional cycling.
Alice monger-godfrey:Adam Tranter/fusion-media.co.uk
Alice Monger-Godfrey is HotChillee’s youngest team member. At only 19, she has racing experience well beyond her years. She was part of the successful Glendene Cycling Club as a junior, which catered for many promising riders including Alex Dowsett and Peter Kennaugh. As a first year senior, last year, Monger-Godfrey joined Swift Racing, juggling her A-level studies and exams with trips to race in Belgium.
The Surrey youngster came third overall in the Bedford Women’s Two Day Stage Race, as well as doing her bit to win the team time trial. This year, she’ll be heading to Belgium to race for a year full-time, and would then like to study osteopathy in London. Monger-Godfrey will be using the Cape Argus to kickstart her 2009 race calendar.
Tanja Slater finished eighth in the 2003 European Triathlon Championships and quickly became part of triathlon’s World Class Performance Plan. But in 2006, due to illness, she abandoned running and swimming in favour of cycling, her strongest triathlon discipline, and never looked back. In 2007, she signed a professional contract with the Raleigh Lifeforce Creation team, riding alongside Nicole Cooke. That year, she achieved one of the best victories in her career, a stage in the Grand Boucle.
Slater retired from professional sport in March 2008, with the intention of competing as an amateur triathlete and time triallist. She ran the New York Marathon in November, finishing in 4:47:51.
Penny krohn:Adam Tranter/fusion-media.co.uk
Penny Krohn has completed 24 Cape Argus Cycle Tours and won her age group in every one of them. She has also been in the women’s top 10 for 15 of those events, and won the first Giro del Capo which was open to women in 1992. Krohn is something of a cycling personality in Cape Town but the 57-year-old never turned professional due to a lack of support for women’s sport.
That didn’t stop her from racing in the Ore-Ida stage race in Idaho and the Tour de l’Aude, where she led the South African team. She came second in the World Championships in 1990 at St Johann, where she raced under an Irish name, because South Africans were unwelcome in the world sports arena at the time. Krohn has won eight world Masters titles over the years.
They are directed by Australian Scott Sunderland, who helped instrument Carlos Sastre’s 2008 Tour de France victory as sports director at Team CSC. Sponsors include Adidas, Sigma Sport, Cyclevox and Sportique.
The Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour is the biggest event of its type in the world, with some 40,000 riders set to head to the start line in Cape Town on 8 March.
Although many of the entrants will be aiming to ride at their own pace around the 109km course, the Argus – which is described as an individually timed cycle race – attracts some of the world’s best known professional riders.
Miguel Indurain and Jan Ullrich have ridden in the past, while the 2008 event was won by Barloworld’s Robbie Hunter, as the event formed the last stage of the Giro del Capo, a five-day UCI pro race.
The 2009 event will follow the same format, with teams like Barloworld, the Danish Cycling Federation, the German national team and Great Britain’s Rapha Condor entering the Giro del Capo.