Team Bestmed-ASG’s new signing Hazel Magill shifted her focus from a career as a hockey player to one of a cyclist four years ago.
“I was a field hockey player and was cycling just to keep fit,” said Magill, who is originally from Klerksdorp.
“I basically pushed the cycling and chose to go in that direction rather than focus on hockey.”
The 22-year-old, who previously rode for Time Freight and POC, was approached by Team Bestmed-ASG when she returned from Europe in September after racing there for six months.
“I was in contact with the team, but nothing was finalised. It was towards the end of the season, so I was very lucky because one does not often get selected into a team during that time,” the Cape Town local said.
Magill, who was named the best young rider after last year’s Tour of Ireland, added that the team would help her race in more of the bigger events.
“I cannot enter the main events on my own, so this opportunity has opened a lot of doors for me.”
Magill sees a lot of benefits to being part of the team, which was established in 2013.
“Being in the team means you automatically learn lots of life skills, how to handle certain situations and how to work together. Not many teams are so well-structured,” she said.
Magill, who competed in the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2013 and in the 2015 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup event in Switzerland, said her role would be to focus on flat races and act as a domestique.
“My duty will be to help my teammates and protect the main rider. I do believe you need to earn your place in a team.
“I can’t just come in and say everyone should work for me, because I want to win. I am well aware of that.
“For me it is just better to be told what to do for now, and to work. I’m really happy to work, and to help someone else win, as long as I have something to do.
“At a later stage, I hope, they will pick a race and say this is the race for me.”
Magill, who is eligible to ride for Ireland, added that she was looking forward to learning from and working with her new teammates.
“I know if I give 100 per cent for the team now, they will give 100 per cent back when it’s time for me to win a race.”