Young African Youth Games cyclist Catherine Colyn has headed to the Netherlands on the back of two solid performances on the local scene, writes Mark Etheridge.
In recent weeks she’s competed in the Tour of Durban and the Freedom Challenge. In the Tour of Durban she ended ninth in a time of 2hr 52min 39sec for the 105-kilometre ride. Commonwealth Games rider Cherise Stander was the overall winner, in the same time.
Said Colyn, third in the U23 division: ‘Going up the first climb I was sitting at the front of the bunch. Cherise attacked and once the pressure was applied the bunch started to wither down to a group of nine.
‘The gap stayed constant at two minutes from us to the peloton. We worked well together and kept the pace hard, managing to extend the gap to four minutes.
‘Coming into the final few kilometres, I sat on the wrong wheel and missed out on the sprint!’
Moving on to the Freedom Classic, in Pietermaritzburg, the women tackled a course of 113 kilometres in the UCI 1.2 rated event and it was again CSA Women’s Development team captain Stander who took the honours. She was a comfortable winner in 3:23:19.131, three minutes clear of runner-up An-Li Kachelhoffer. Colyn took seventh in 3:32:03.631 and was first U23 rider. ‘The move of the day went on the second lap, Cherise attacked and Active Works followed. I couldn’t follow and had to watch the break ride away… ‘Once the gap was at three minutes I attacked on the longest climb of the route but no one was able to come with and I couldn’t ride 25km by myself.
‘On the last lap, I sat on the front and controlled the pace up the climbs riding at a hard tempo. Coming into the sprint I followed Heidi Dalton’s wheel and was passed by Maroesjka Matthee and Charlene du Preez.’
Colyn’s arrival in the Netherlands didn’t get off to a good start as she was laid low by a chest and nose infection and had to be on a course of antibiotics.
Feeling a bit better this week, she told Road to Rio 2016: ‘I’m based in Geleen in the Netherlands. I will be racing in a clean kit [no sponsored material], because it is my first time racing in Europe.
‘I’ll be doing a lot of the local races here in Holland and in Belgium. I’m going to be here in Holland for a total of three months. I hope to gain as much experience what I can in the bunch.’
The Franschhoek cyclist is unsure of exactly when she’ll be in her first race. ‘With me having been sick I’m going to see how I feel on Sunday and during the week with training.’
Colyn is joined in the Netherlands by young fellow South African riders Chris Jooste and Joshua Buchel.’
Source : South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee