It was the first time South Africa had won a medal in the Games road race since 2006 when David George won silver.
“I am very happy about my achievement,” Hendricks told In the Bunch today. “It started to sink in nicely when we arrived at the airport yesterday, when the ministers greeted us and when we had the press conference.
“That is when I realised what I had managed to achieve. It feels great to have won a [road-race] medal for the first time in 12 years.”
Hendricks said the team’s plan before the race was for Brendon Davids and him to take it to the line for the team.
He said it was a “weird” type of race and it was challenging to stick to the team strategy.
“It was almost like a typical European classic where you cannot let anything go by up the road. It took a long time for the break to establish.
“No one really wanted to miss out and it was difficult to sit in and save energy.
“There were some splits occurring in the group and big names went up the road, so I was forced to follow the racing – which I did until it settled down a bit.
“We also found Brendon [Davids] up front, which was a good card for us. We took advantage of following the Australian and New Zealand riders.”
Hendricks, who rides locally for BCX, said it was an “eye-opener” for him to be able to follow those riders.
“Most of them, if not all of them, are WorldTour riders and they ride full-time European schedules.
“It was up to me to have the legs to follow them and it was quite an eye-opener for me to have stayed with them. I got a good realisation of my abilities.”
Hendricks said that after following their wheels for large parts of the race he almost had no legs left in the final eight kilometres.
“Then when I saw that there was just one kilometre left, I got a sudden energy boost – it was like a little bit of a lifeline. I thought I would just go all out in the final sprint.
“I struggled to get out of my saddle and do a proper sprint, so I just stayed seated and rode as hard as I could. I managed to just sneak in on the inside.”
Despite his good result, Hendricks said he did not feel well on the day. “I did not feel too great and I do not know why. I felt much better leading up to the race.
“I did not feel too sharp, but maybe that worked to my favour. It is often said that if you do not feel your best, you ride smarter and you do not spend all your pennies when you do not need to.”
The team played a good supportive role for him, Hendricks added. “Everyone did a great job to prevent me from getting on the back foot.
“The guys did well to assist me and keep me hydrated, giving me bottles, riding towards the front and giving me a wheel to ride on, keeping me out of the wind and communicating with me.”
Hendricks will now turn his focus to the inaugural four-stage Tour de Limpopo, taking place from April 23 to 26.