Anriëtte Schoeman goes through the pain barrier to ensure a consecutive Optimum Berge and Dale Classic win over the weekend ahead of An-Li Pretorius (left) and Marissa Stander (far left). Photo: Alex Cooper

bizhub FCF star Anriëtte Schoeman successfully defended her title on the weekend, when she won the Optimum Berge and Dale Classic at the Silverstar Casino, outside of Mogale City.

Back-to-back Elite ladies champion Anriëtte Schoeman smiles with the 2012 men’s Berge and Dale Classic winner, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg. Photo: Alex Cooper

As the ladies started the 100km race on their own, the race started with 3km climb and immediately ladies were left behind as MTN Qhubeka and bizhub FCF went at each other.

Lise Olivier set a very hard pace but was closely followed by Schoeman, Marissa Stander and An-Li Pretorius, and towards the summit of the climb, several more pro ladies were left behind, only to regroup later and fight their way back to rejoin the breakaway group, 45km into the race.

With 25km to go, former Norwegian champion Linn Torp and Pretorius broke away and at one stage opened a 20-second time gap, but their advantage was however closed with 18km to go.

Another few attacks and counter attacks were launched by the different teams, but the decisive break came with 15km to go, when Olivier launched a major attack taking Schoeman, Stander, and Pretorius and Theresa Ralph along with her.

With 5km to go it was clear that the race win would be determined by a sprint to the finish, and sure enough, Olivier made her move with 300m to go.

Schoeman followed her closely with Pretorius just ahead, and then managed to pass Pretorius in the last 50m for a back-to-back Berge en Dale win, with Pretorius finishing in second, and Stander in third. Olivier took fourth, while Ralph placed fifth with Lynette Burger Toyota Cycle Lab in sixth place.