Chris Jooste is from South Africa and is 26 years old. He is currently racing in the Portuguese team of JVperfis – Windmob. Jooste had already raced in Portugal, in this same team, back in 2019. He raced the Grande Prémio O Jogo, the Memorial Bruno Neves, the Grande Prémio Anicolor and also the Grande Prémio Jornal de Notícias. Portuguese Cycling Magazine chatted with him after Clássica da Primavera. You can read below what Chris confided us!
The choice of Portugal
Chris, who had the opportunity to race in Portugal in 2019, tells us that he “was part of a portuguese community back in South Africa”, and the team he raced for, the Luso ACDC Pro Cycling Team, was sponsored by that community. Jooste loved being part of the community and “out of nowhere, it came the opportunity to race in Portugal”. With the help of Shaun-Nick Bester, who raced at Sporting – Tavira in 2016 and 2017, he managed to “get in touch with some people” linked to the Portuguese cycling scene and converted the opportunity into reality.
Chris loved his first experience in Portugal, but it would end sooner than expected: “I had problems with my visa and unfortunately I only stayed in Portugal three months”, when “I was adapting well and was already doing good races at the end of my stint”. From then on, his goal was always “to return to Portugal to become a professional cyclist”. However, he believes that “Europe is not the easiest place to be a professional, but it is the place where we can get another racing experience with the way we race here”.
The people’s treatment in Portugal is something that pleases the rider: “It is like a family here. It has been three years since I have been here in Portugal and there are some people who greet me and ask me how I am doing, and I don’t even remember some of those people!”
The 2022 season and what to expect for the future
Chris’ plan is to compete on the rest of the Portuguese season, however he still has his visa situation unresolved. At least until June he will stay in Portugal, but his plan is to stay until September. In this period, where he will be in Portugal regularly, he hopes to “get something good out of the season”.
When asked to talk about the future, the South African believes that joining a Portuguese UCI Continental team would be “the first steppingstone and it is something I have dreamed of for a while”. He does not forget the difficulties of adapting to Portugal for foreign riders, namely the “language barrier”, but considers that he is taking “good steps” in the pursuit of his dream. Between laughs, he admits that “if I could run 10 years as a professional in Portugal, I would do it very willingly!”. Finally, he told us that he would like to “do well in the big races” and highlighted how the pandemic has helped him to improve his ability to “stand out” and try to sign “a professional contract”.