Multiple South African champion, Cherise Taylor (Team USN), timed her sprint to perfection to win the Randfontein EPR Cycle Challenge west of Johannesburg at the weekend.
The 21-year-old Taylor came around seasoned professional, Anriette Schoeman (Nashua Toyota) in the final metres of the finishing straight to secure the 120km race victory in a time of three hours, 11 minutes and seven seconds. Charlotte van der Merwe (MTN Qhubeka) rounded out the podium places in third.
“It was one of those sprints where you had to really pay attention to the wind in order to get the timing right,” said Taylor, who was somewhat surprised with her victory after recently coming off a mid-year break. “The wind was blowing diagonally from the front and right and I knew that the later I left my kick, the better.
“I let the MTN riders lead us into the finish and I just waited for Anriëtte to start her sprint and let her take me closer to the line before I swung out into the wind. It worked out perfectly for me – a bonus really when I consider how strong Anriëtte was throughout the race.”
The Elite women started with the Veteran men’s 40-49 year category, which saw a flurry of attacks in the latter half of the undulating race on Gauteng’s West Rand.
Schoeman was the standout rider among the women, responding to most of the men’s attacks. But ultimately she lacked the ability to stay in any of the moves and was left to contest the final kilometres with Taylor, Van der Merwe, Lise Olivier (MTN Qhubeka) and Cashandra Slingerland (FJR).
“After having been riding again for just two weeks, I wasn’t expecting to win. But it does confirm that I’m in better condition that I thought.
“I do a lot of training on my own and when you don’t have anyone to measure your progress against, you usually think pessimistically about your form. I’m motivated and confident to tackle the rest of the year’s racing now,” smiled Taylor.
Leading Results for Elite Women in the Randfontein EPR 120km Challenge:1. Cherise Taylor (Team USN) 3 hrs 11 min 07 sec 2. Anriëtte Schoeman (Nashua Toyota) (same time) 3. Charlotte van der Merwe (MTN Qhubeka) @ 2sec 4. Lise Oliver (MTN Qhubeka) @ 10sec 5. Cashandra Slingerland (FJR) @ 34sec