“I’m disappointed because I felt a top 10 was well within my capabilities, but I’ve decided for any world champs moving forward there are ways I can improve in order to be fully prepared,” she said.
De Groot, who was the highest-placed SA woman contender after finishing 23rd, added that she gave of her best on the day so in that sense she was happy with her ride.
Her biggest challenge was an injury she had been battling with for over 18 months. “Managing that was tough for me, especially on a course like we had in the Dolomites. But considering that, I think I managed it pretty well.”
De Groot’s strategy throughout the 89km race, which she completed in 5:32:45, was to pace well and manage herself and her equipment to ensure her nutrition was not neglected.
“We have no climbing conditions like this in SA. It’s something you need to see to believe.”
She added that she had a “very bad start”, so her first two hours were a struggle, but from there on it flowed and started to get better.
“I rode from the back pacing myself well throughout, slowly reeling riders in one by one. You just have to keep chipping away and take each metre as it comes.
“The route was an absolute monster. People back home will never be able to imagine the terrain we traversed. It was most certainly the hardest one-day race I’ve done to date.
“I just took each kilometre at a time and paced myself well,” said De Groot, who felt her form and fitness was good coming into the race.
The Ascendis Health rider said she now had a busy finish to the season for her team with some stage racing and one-day races that would take her into November.
“I’ll do one more race in Europe and then head back home to SA.”
Denmark’s Annika Langvad was the overall winner, with Austria’s Christina Kollmann-Forstner second and Poland’s Maja Wloszczowska third.