South African national champion Carla Oberholzer was delighted to end her highly successful season with a victory at one of the country’s “big three” classics, the 947 Cycle Challenge in Johannesburg today.
“Like our manager David [Pieterse] said, ‘It’s the last goal that wins the game’. Today’s was really important to us as a team,” Oberholzer told In the Bunch today.
“Even if we’ve had a highly successful season, winning the 947 was always the end goal. We are extremely excited to have ended the year on such a high note.”
She said the racing “only started” around the 35km mark when a break of six riders got away, before she, Van de Winkel and Schoeman went ahead.
However, they were not aware at the time that Ralph was in a solo lead.
“We worked pretty well on the highway until we heard that Theresa was away in a solo break with almost one minute [over us],” Oberholzer said.
“It was quite a shock as none of us knew that she was away. We started chasing and we had to work really hard to bring her back.
“It was only after Kyalami [with approximately 12km left] that we managed to catch her.”
The four riders then played a game of cat and mouse over the final several kilometres.
“I put in a last attack on the final climb and got away with Joanna, but the other two reeled us back in with about 2km to go.”
Oberholzer admitted she was nervous going into the final sprint, but said she knew where to launch the final attack.
“I came through the last corner fifth wheel and as soon as we hit the little uphill towards the circle I knew I had to go and commit 100 per cent. First into the circle would be first across the line.
“After the circle I sprinted flat-box way past the finish line to make sure no one caught me,” she said.
She added that she and her husband had walked through the finish yesterday, enabling her to “know exactly what to expect and where to launch”.
With various teams represented at the head of affairs in the race, Oberholzer said this boded well for the standard of women’s cycling.
“It was great to have different teams actually racing and having Anriette here was special. She is such a legend and it was great racing with her today.”
Kim le Court and Heidi Dalton were Oberholzer’s teammates today and she said they assisted her well throughout.
“Kim and Heidi covered all the moves in the first couple of kilometres. They do a great job keeping me calm and believing in me.
“I believe we have a winning recipe and if we keep doing what we are doing I think we can pull off another amazing season in 2019,” she said, adding that she was done with racing for the year and would now focus on her physiotherapy course.