Johannesburg – Former Ladies category winner of the Absa Cape Epic, Sharon Laws, had to withdraw from the 10th edition of the race on Sunday after a serious fall in the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour in Cape Town.

Her partner, Hanlie Booyens, will now be riding with Ischen Stopforth as team Pragma Volcan Ladies.

Booyens said it was a sad day for her and the team after watching Laws crash as she was approaching the finish line.

“Yesterday was a very challenging day for us all. To see a great friend in agony and heartbroken is never easy,” Booyens said.

“Sharon had a horrible crash nearing the finish line of the Argus. She was out there having a brilliant ride, breaking away on Suikerbossie. She was in front, riding aggressively and unfortunately this meant she was the first in line when one of the guys went down, sending her rocketing over him and crashing badly.”

Booyens added that Laws had suffered a broken collarbone, an injury to her ribs and a serious back fracture. “(It's) a great setback at the start of her European season and the end of our Cape Epic dream to ride the 10th together. Yes, she’ll need some time but she’ll be back! “With regards to the Cape Epic, I discussed it with Sharon and we agreed that the best suitable replacement would be top South African rider, Ischen Stopforth.

“I’m so grateful to her for agreeing on very short notice to step in! We’ll make the best of the race – it’s the only way.” – Sapa