Candice Lill may not have been aiming for the overall National MTB Series title, but she is ready to go out with a bang when the series concludes in Kaapsehoop this weekend.
Lill, who is second in the overall standings behind Robyn de Groot, is tipped as the woman to beat after notching up five podiums – including two victories – during the series.
With De Groot set to be absent, the Capetonian said she would also go for the overall title if the opportunity presented itself.
“For me it is about the individual events, I didn’t set out to win overall,” said the 25-year-old.
The dormakaba rider finished fourth in the opening round in Grabouw and, since then, has consistently been in the top two in the races she started.
With competition such as De Groot, Samantha Sanders and Amy McDougall to contend with, Lill said the competition throughout the seven-part series had been fierce.
She said the start of the season had seen a lot of international competition, but, since their departure, she had been impressed by the consistently high level of racing.
“Every race we turn ourselves inside out to win and we reach the finish absolutely exhausted, we couldn’t have given any more.”
This attitude, she said, was key to improving.
“It’s great to have a series like this, where you can race often and get better. I myself have seen huge improvement in my riding.”
Lill, who won 3 Towers alongside Vera Adrian recently, has been a dominant figure on the scene this year.
Kaapsehoop will once again offer the opportunity for her to tackle some serious climbing, with the final round being the first in the series to end with a hill climb.
“I also expect this weekend to be tough because of the altitude, and they’ve thrown in a major climb somewhere at the end of day one,” she said.
“They’re also making a big deal about it being the first hilltop finish they’ve had, so I expect it to be hard.”
Despite the challenges ahead, Lill said she would take the opportunity to make up some time on the 64.6km opening day as it was more suited to her strengths that the shorter 56.3km second stage.
“I enjoy the long climbs; I feel that’s my strength. I’m hoping day one will be my chance to make the gap and I’ll just have to see how day two goes.”