Discipline was the key factor that enabled STS-Specialized Women to win the Double Century in Swellendam yesterday, explained Kylie Hanekom.
Hanekom was part of the triumphant women’s outfit that won the 202km team time-trial event, beating Flashie Ladies into second by almost 20 minutes.
The rest of the 12-member team comprised Vicky van der Merwe, Marinda Bruwer, Louisa de Jongh, Lene du Bois, Marietjie Lutz, Lu-Mae Malan, Kelsey Nel, Catherine Pellow-Jarman, Deleen-Marie Steyn, Su-Mari Visser and Janeke Volkmann.
With a large number of the riders part of the Stellenbosch Triathlon Squad coached by Van der Merwe, Hanekom said this contributed to them riding well as a unit.
“They rode really well, [were] very disciplined and everyone stuck to the plan,” Hanekom told In the Bunch today.
“We rode very consistently. We tried to keep everyone together, maintain a good pace line and remain steady the whole way.”
Hanekom said the team stayed together until the second neutral zone, approximately 160km in, before they continued with eight riders and finished with seven.
Speaking of their tactics, Hanekom said it was important to hold back during the first half of the course.
“[It was decisive] to keep the team together and not go too hard over Op De Tradouw [about 60km in], staying strong for the final three climbs.
“If you were able to pull that off then you would be in a good space.”
The Cape Town local admitted, however, that they possibly were not the strongest team on the day.
“If the Flashie Ladies had not ridden for a 12-person finish then they would definitely have beaten us.
“They were definitely stronger than us in terms of rider calibre on the day.”
Fortunately for STS-Specialized, though, they had a relatively smooth ride, Hanekom recalled.
“We couldn’t have asked for much better. We’re really lucky we didn’t have any mechanicals or punctures.”
Hanekom said she was now done with racing for the year and would turn her focus to her fulltime job at Specialized Bikes in Stellenbosch.