Port Elizabeth’s Anriette Schoeman will be chasing a second 947 Cycle Challenge title when she links up with the Team Bestmed-ASG squad for Sunday’s race in Johannesburg.
The 39-year-old usually competes as an individual under the Bestmed banner but now she is looking forward to being part of a team for one of the country’s most popular road races.
Schoeman, who won the 947 Mountain Bike Challenge at the weekend, said the support she had received from Bestmed as a brand over the last three years had been “incredible”.
Facing a tough challenge, Schoeman said the importance of teamwork could not be underestimated in their bid for victory in the 94.7km race.
“We will aim to stick together and to use our teamwork in the last third of the race to have a contender in a break or in the final sprint,” she said.
Champion in 2008, Schoeman rated the Cycle Challenge as one of her favourites to win.
“It has always had a special place for me and it’s fantastic to end your season by winning or getting a podium at the 947.”
As a previous winner, Schoeman understands there is no easy route to victory.
“You need to come into the race prepared and trying to peak at the right time.
“With it coming so late in the season, there is always the possibility of being tired or injured.”
The multiple former national road champion said she had done several races in the build-up to this year’s event, with the recent mountain bike outing helping her to cope better with the effects of racing at altitude.
Despite a lengthy career filled with achievements, Schoeman has not lost her appetite for racing.
“I love riding my bike and I’m driven by good results, so as long as I can keep up I will definitely keep trying.
“As you get older you lose some of your natural ability but gain other benefits and you have to adjust your riding style and training accordingly.”