The Cape Epic women’s special jersey winner said she had been thinking about the move for a while and believed it was the right time for her to further her career.
“My time with dormakaba has been incredible [considering] the opportunities I had to do the racing I did. With it being a South African team, they follow a local racing schedule and in so doing would want all the exposure and the media here, which makes sense.”
Lill said that after racing in South Africa for so long and claiming so many podium places, she no longer felt she was growing as a rider or a person, as much as she would like to.
“I have [grown] up until now, but if I had to do that for another year I would feel as though I’d be in too much of a comfort zone and that’s not what I want out of life.”
The Tankwa Trek champion said she had decided to give her career a full shot and believed she could succeed overseas. She knew things would have to go her way in order for her to reach the top, but it was one thing she did not want to regret failing to do in the future.
“I don’t want to look back after 10 years and say ‘Candice, did you really take the opportunity to better and challenge yourself as well as make it on the big scene when you had the chance to?’ I think it’s a good time in my life to step up,” said Lill.
Part of her plan for racing overseas includes incorporating road racing into her mountain-bike schedule, which includes cross-country races in Europe.
“It wasn’t part of my initial plan, but I’ve been quite excited to possibly become part of a road team. It will help with my speed on the mountain bike, so it transfers across nicely.
“I just have to plan the season correctly so that I don’t end up racing too much. The biggest reason why I’d want to do both is because I want to have a year where I explore all my options.”
In November 2016 she married former national road champion Darren Lill, who has been a massive motivator for her through his coaching and mentoring.
He has participated in numerous big races overseas, such as the Tour of Utah, Le Tour de Langkawi and the Tour of Georgia, as well as forming part of teams such as BMC, Fly V Australia and Barloworld.
“From the beginning, Darren understood precisely what motivates me and how to motivate me. I think it has a lot to do with his experience on the road with a team and being able to read the different riders.
“At the end of the day if you are the rider they’re riding for to win, you have to find a way to get a group of them to be motivated to help you and to win. That’s serving him well now.”
She said Darren had always believed in her and was constantly challenging her to aim higher.
“I’d think I’d done fairly well in a race but he would analyse it and say I did well, but I’m capable of more or I could have done better.
“He doesn’t say it in a way to put me down. It’s more just to help me continuously realise that I’m here in this moment but I can be more and there’s more to give,” she said.
Lill added that Darren had a way of helping her see that suffering was just temporary and you could go so much further than you thought you could.
“To practise that every day in training and racing you just become better at it and that’s pretty much what makes you a better racer; who can handle the pain the most.”
Regarding future plans, the couple have a lot going on and have to juggle a few things simultaneously, but mutual supporting remains their priority.
“Some of our plans involve being overseas and others involve being based here. A lot of it involves cycling, but also our future and life in general.
“We feel as though we’re at a crossroads, with me wanting to race overseas and Darren winding down his professional career and starting something else.
“There are a lot of options and opportunities that come with that and we have to somehow make them mesh and still want the best for each other.”
In conclusion, Lill said they would come up with the best plan for both of them and for the future they wanted.