Not shy of a challenge, Carla Oberholzer is all set for the Berge en Dale Championship as she targets a podium spot in the first major national classic of the South African road cycling season early next month.
The 29-year-old from Clarens in the Free State finished runner-up in last year’s event hosted by the Cradlestone Mall in Muldersdrift on the West Rand and is eager to back that up with another good showing this year.
“It is always nice to show an improvement,” she said, “but Kim le Court will be back to defend her title and the race could really go either way.”
The pair both race for Demacon Ladies in SA, while Oberholzer will link up with Bizkaia-Durango when she jets off to Europe later in the season.
She said she was happy with the route and felt the challenges it provided would suit her style of riding.
“As long as the racing is hard, I’m happy,” she said. “I always enjoy the Berge en Dale as the early climb ensures that the racing starts early on.
Oberholzer – a physiotherapist by trade – said she always happy to take on a challenge, while she was also aiming to improve her sprinting.
Like many of the country’s top riders, she said she would be using the Berge en Dale Championship to make sure she is ready for the following week’s SA Road Championships in Wellington.
“It will be my last race before SA champs, which is my immediate goal. It will give me an indication of my form.”
Following the nationals, Oberholzer said her focus would shift to the European season where she would be racing from April to June.
She said her main goals later in the year would be to make the national team for the world championships and to “compete well” at the 947, where she finished fourth last year after a tightly contested sprint for second.
Other good performances last season included fourth overall in the five-day Bestmed Tour of Good Hope and third in the KZN Summer Series UCI 1.2 women’s race.
“Finishing third at last year’s KZN Summer Series UCI 1.2 women’s race after being in the break for most of the day was definitely my best moment yet,” said Oberholzer.
“Being selected for the world champs last year was also a great honour.”
The Berge en Dale Championship includes a 55km event and, this year, a mountain biking component has been added for the following day.
Entries close on January 26. For more information, visit www.asgevents.co.za.