“In terms of one-day marathon mountain biking it’s a prestigious title to take, for sure.
“It’s always been special to me and I’ve done my utmost to wear the jersey with pride and be the best ambassador I can for the sport,” said De Groot, who added that she was feeling good both mentally and physically going into the weekend.
“I’m in good shape and I’ve been working hard to build my form to race nationals and continue to build towards a European racing block from July.”
Prior to racing sani2c, which De Groot won alongside Samantha Sanders, it was a matter of building up stamina after a substantial amount of time off the bike and riding at a very low intensity while recovering from her vascular surgery that took place in January.
“Since then I guess training became more specific to race-readiness than just general fitness.
“I feel good coming into the event. I’ve had to put the brakes on training once or twice as my body wasn’t ready for the load, but working closely with my coach we’ve managed this and adapted well to the circumstances.”
The desire to race professionally again had been a strong motivating factor.
“I also spoke to many athletes who had had similar surgery to what I had. Many phone calls were made and questions asked when I was making decisions. It was really comforting to have reassurance and advice from those who have been through the process.”
Having missed most of the qualification races for the World XC Marathon Champs this year due to the surgery and recovery, she says she is now more motivated than ever for Saturday’s qualifying event.
“I’ve also planned some races in Europe with the hope of qualifying and preparing for XCM World Champs in Switzerland in September.
“Racing in Europe stimulates growth as an athlete, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to race there,” said De Groot, who recently signed with team dormakaba.