Three-time Swiss national road cycling champion Jennifer Hohl (Team bizhub) gave the first glimpses of her pedigree when she finished third in Sunday’s Dischem Ride for Sight contested over 116km in and around Boksburg.
The podium had a distinctly international flavour with Swedish champion Jenny Stenerhag (Alpha Pharm) first across the line.
She was closely followed by Carla Swart (Team MTN), who has been living in the United States for several years, with the Brit Catherine Williamson (Team bizhub) fourth.
Hohl – who is regarded as one of the most talented riders in the South African pro peloton – sprinted to her first podium of the season after arriving in the country severely short on form just more than three weeks ago.
“Due to the weather I did very little riding before I came to South Africa and I had no form to speak of,” said the 24-year-old. “It has been tough.”
Although she was still doing base miles, she said she expected her condition to be “really good” towards the latter half of next month. “I’ve been doing some speed work, but not much.”
The Swiss champion said she had been struggling with the altitude on the Highveld, especially given her lack of conditioning. “Coming from zero metres above sea level to 1 800 is great for training, but not for racing when you’re short on miles.”
Hohl said Sunday was the first time she felt comfortable in racing conditions. “I felt good at the start and strong on the climbs. I was able to mark all the moves.”
All indications are that Hohl will be one of the riders to watch in Sunday’s Carnival City Macsteel National Classic.
“I understand the race is flat, so I’ll try my best to win. However, we will have to see who feels best on the day,” she said, referring to team-mate Williamson who has consistently been finishing at the front end of the field.
Meanwhile, Team bizhub owner John Robertson said the Konica Minolta outfit was proud of their youngest member and latest signing, Lilandi Swanepoel.
The 17-year-old from Lichtenburg impressed all and sundry by winning gold and silver respectively in the time-trial and road race for juniors at the national championships in Klerksdorp this past weekend.
Robertson said the team has always had a proud history of shaping future champions. “I can see her following in the footsteps of a rider like Cherise Taylor (who bagged her second senior title in Klerksdorp).”
Full Stop Communications
041 368 4992
082 575 7991
On behalf of: