Kelsey van Schoor ticked off a major goal in her young career when she was recently selected to represent South Africa at the junior UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, on September 27.
However Van Schoor, 17, a pupil at St Dominic’s Priory in Port Elizabeth, does not yet know who her teammates will be.
She said they had all been notified individually and that Cycling South Africa was yet to release the names of the full team.
Van Schoor, who rides for the PE-based African Pride, was clearly delighted with her selection.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to represent SA at the world champs and I will certainly be very proud to wear the green and gold,” she told In the Bunch.
The junior women will take on a 74km circuit comprising three 24km laps, each with 460m of climbing.
Identifying climbing as her main strength, Van Schoor said she was looking forward to taking on the route, rumoured to be “one of the toughest world champs courses yet”.
“As a climber I’m extremely excited as it will suit my strengths,” she said.
“I started my training for world champs four months ago and a lot of focus has been put into my overall strength and climbing speed.”
Her goal, she said, was to make it into the front group of riders towards the end of the race.
“I want to go over the final 8km climb with the leading girls and then save as much energy as possible for the sprint finish, which will be 10km after the climb.
“I’m pretty sure the Cycling SA management will utilise my climbing and sprint skills within the team.”
Racing and performing in Europe is nothing new to Van Schoor, who spent the last two seasons getting some experience abroad.
“I was very fortunate to have raced and to finish on the podium in Netherlands and Belgium in both 2016 and 2017,” she said.
“I have raced against many of the Dutch girls who performed well at this year’s European champs.
“That has definitely given me confidence heading into the world champs.”
Van Schoor last year held SA national titles in all three cycling disciplines – track, road and mountain-bike – but said this year she had largely focused on preparing for the world champs showpiece.
The PE local has enjoyed some success on the tarmac in the process. She finished third overall at the Herald Cycle Tour in February and was the first junior home and fifth overall in the Cape Town Cycle Tour in March.
Keep had also been selected to represent SA at the world champs, but in the mountain-bike event.