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Cape Town – Last year Anriette Schoeman’s hopes of a podium finish were crushed after she was involved in the catastrophic crash that rocked the final stretch of the elite women’s ride. Cyclists were forced to walk over the finish line, nursing cuts, bruises and broken bones.
But this year, Schoeman, 35, took first place in a time of 2 hours 55 minutes and 53 seconds to become the first person to win seven titles in the annual race.
Just minutes after she came in, the diminutive cyclist, known as the “pocket rocket” by her fellow riders, admitted she never thought she would win this year.
“Last year I was scraping myself from the tarmac… and later I found out I had actually broken my hand. I didn’t mentally prepare myself (this time) to really do well and I suffered through the climbs… I still can’t believe it.”
Schoeman was glad to avoid another tumble just before the line on Sunday. Schoeman has taken part in 15 cycle tours and while she won the event in 2009, she said this one was very special.
“It makes me realise that I can still race,” she said.
Schoeman came in just ahead of Cherise Stander, the widow of cycling star Burry Stander, who was killed after he was hit by a taxi in January.
She walked off in tears after a brief interview with a local TV station. Afterwards an emotional Stander said she was not ready to speak to the media and needed time to collect herself.
Swede Jennie Stenerhag finished third. Catherine Williamson and Team Momentum Toyota’s Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, who was involved in the 2012 crash, took fourth and fifth respectively. – Cape Argus