South African road cycling champion, Cherise Taylor (USN) got her spring racing season off to the perfect start when she won the Dome2Dome Cycling Spectacular in Krugersdorp at the weekend.
Taylor was part of a race-deciding 10-rider breakaway group that formed after 30km into the undulating 90km race. The group also included Taylor’s USN teammate, Karien van Jaarsveld, Robyn de Groot, An-Li Pretorius, Cashandra Slingerland and Lylanie Lauwrens (all MTN), Anriette Schoeman and Joanna van de Winkel (both Biogen Toyota), Lise Olivier (Bizhub) and Jeaun-Mari Breytenbach.
The elite pack rode smoothly and strongly in an echelon formation for some time before the MTN riders used their numerical advantage to begin launching attacks in an effort to whittle the group down as they reached the final 20km.
However, the tactic wasn’t a success and with 15km remaining, the 10-rider group was still intact. As the group hit the approach to the final tough climb up Sterkfontein Hill, Schoeman did a strong turn on the front, which resulted in some of the more weary riders dropping off the back.
With 5km to go – much of it uphill – just six riders remained out front: Taylor, Schoeman, Van de Winkel, Olivier, Lauwrens and De Groot. Taylor managed to edge out Schoeman in the final dash on an incline to clock a winning time of 2hr 30min 23sec. Schoeman was a second slower in securing the runner-up place in the same time as De Groot, who claimed the final podium spot.
“The pace was fast from the start. Biogen Toyota were very aggressive early on which helped get that initial 10-girl group clear,” explained Taylor. “The hills at the end made the final section quite tough and I was lucky to be able to produce a strong sprint on the uphill finish to get the win.”
Taylor will compete at the MTN Zoo Lake Criterium on Sunday 19 September before she heads off to represent South Africa in Australia at the UCI World Championships and then India at the Commonwealth Games.
For detailed results visit www.racetec.co.za