Marie-Zanne de Kock dominated throughout the first four days of the Tour of Good Hope, only to be pipped at the post by Parys Edwards on the final day.
Edwards took the overall title at Paarl’s Taal Monument on Friday, defeating De Kock by just one second.
“I’m extremely grateful for a second place. Every day is a new day and a new race. I’m proud of myself for finishing first in the first four stages, but this is a tour of five days and every day counts,” said the 37-year-old De Kock.
“Parys was stronger on the last day of and if the clock said she beat me by a second, then that’s how it is. Then she is the best lady of the tour and deserves the win.
“I obviously will always try to win, but losing is never hard for me if I honestly know I did my best.”
The Bestmed rider added that when crossing the finish line her first emotion was definitely one of relief.
“A long stretched-out tour wearing a yellow jersey can be quite stressful. Since day three I knew they were going to attack me on those mountains.
Every single mountain on day three, four and five I had to fight and hold on and try to survive.
“Obviously I was disappointed hearing it was so close. You start to think ‘if I could just have found my gears faster in some places or taken different lines would it have been different’.
“And you start doubting yourself that it was your best. But nothing will change the result.
“It is what it is and that is why I love any sport. It really tests you in all sorts of ways and helps you grow as an athlete and as a person.”
Coming into the tour, she said she had absolutely no expectations. All she ever expected of herself was that she go out and do her best.
“I’m grateful for being blessed with good health and a talent by my God. So I’m in His hands and don’t expect more than what He is giving me on the day.”
De Kock said she came from a running background, so cycling was still fairly new to her.
“I started racing last year August for the first time and wasn’t really sure I liked it, but it seems to be growing on me.
“After a tough race like this I’m excited to see how much further I can push myself.
“I haven’t actually even checked what is next on the calendar.
“I usually just enjoy an easy week after a big race and then only start to look at what’s next, hopefully something different, something challenging and with views like the Tour of Good Hope,” said De Kock, who is originally from Caledon but now stays in Alberton.