Tamina (left) and team at the starting line
Tamina (left) and team at the starting line

Team CTC’s Tamina Oliver praises the charity's support for women's cycling

The two-time South of England Cyclo-cross champion chatted to me on the back of her 56th place finish in the Tour De La Feminin in the Czech Republic.

Tamina says that the assistance provided in their first year of racing by the cycling charity CTC is part of what convinced her to join the Green Team at the start of 2013.

For Oliver, the ethos behind the formation of the team was another part of her decision to race for CTC.

One of the reasons for Team CTC being set up was to help promote women’s cycling, which is something I wholeheartedly support. Racing with them is a way for me to help encourage participation in cycling through actions and not just words."

Tamina Oliver
Team CTC

For Oliver - and for the rest of the ladies from Team CTC and manager Steve Bailey - the racing season has seen an immense amount of travelling up and down the country for the National Series, the Johnson Health Tech Series, and other events.

However, for Tamina the experience in Krisna Lipa last week is the one she has enjoyed most.

“For me the four days in the Czech Republic was fantastic. Everyone, from the riders to the support crew, was a joy to be around and it was really interesting to race there.

“I’ve not raced there before and the courses provided a great challenge for me as they were mostly hilly which I enjoy. The atmosphere within the team was the best I’ve seen it - we all jelled well together and had a really great time.”

In between the Tour De Feminin and Team CTC’s last race at the National Series Surf and Turf in Blackpool on June 16th, Oliver has spent time competing in the Tour of America’s Dairyland series in Wisconsin, USA.

Tamina competed for Team Wisconsin, and has hopes to compete in the States again in the future.

“It was an incredible experience being involved in the nine consecutive days of racing in America. I learned so much while I was there and considering criterium racing isn’t my forte, I was happy to get a number of top 10 finishes.

“It was great fun, an amazing opportunity and I’d love the chance to go out there and race again sometime.”

Having been out of competition for three weeks between the Surf and Turf and the Czech tour, Team CTC’s schedule will once again see them competing on a near-weekly basis beginning with this weekend's National Series event in Essex.

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Oliver hopes that the recent sojourn to the Czech Republic isn’t the team’s last tour in mainland Europe this year.

“I’m not sure if we’re taking part in it yet or not, but I’m really keen on racing in the Tour de l’Ardeche in France. I rode in the tour last year and I felt it really suited my strengths.

“Also I feel after the Czech tour I could have done better earlier on had I got enough rest on returning from America. I feel like l’Ardeche is an opportunity to get that right, go there properly prepared and rested at the top of my game.”

One of the reasons why Team CTC was formed was to encourage more women to take up cycling and participate in riding whether for leisure or competitively.

And Oliver believes the role that she and the rest of the team play as ambassadors for women’s cycling is important to increasing participation in the UK.

“If you are in any team you are representing something larger than just yourself; and it’s always good to speak to the general public whether they are interested in getting into cycling as a hobby or want to take it up competitively.

“Just because we are in cycling to race doesn’t make us any more special than anyone else. Cycling should be all-inclusive no matter what your ability level is.

“That’s the sort of message I want to get across and I hope that what we do does encourage more women to take up cycling.”