When eight-time national road champion Anriette Schoeman was selected for this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, it was a landmark moment – both for her personally and for South African women’s cycling.

“I was so overwhelmed when I heard that I actually cried,” says Schoeman, who joins Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Cherise Stander, An-Li Kachelhoffer, Heidi Dalton and Lise Olivier in the women’s road line-up.

As part of Team South Africa, the seven-time Argus winner has notched up yet another cycling record by becoming the first woman to represent the nation at three Commonwealth Games.

Her first outing was at the Kuala Lumpur games in 1998 and she followed this up a dozen years later with a second appearance in Delhi.

Schoeman, who rides locally in the colours of Africa Silks-Bestmed, says this year’s selection has been the high point of a tumultuous season in terms of fitness and performance.

“The Commonwealth Games has been one of my main goals for the year and there have been a lot of ups and downs leading up to it, so that has made it extra special for me.”

Knowing that 2014 would probably be her final chance to take part in the top-flight international competition, she set her focus on producing consistent results over the past 12 months.

“But after trying to defend my Argus title while sick and having taken some time off afterwards to recover, it made me think I might not be considered any more.

“So when I made the shortlist for selection, I was over the moon. I think my experience may have counted in my favour.”

Schoeman’s other season highlights include a win at The Herald VW Cycle Tour in her hometown of Port Elizabeth and second-place finishes at the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour and Emperors Palace Classic.

The five-time national track champion attributes her longevity in the sport to her levelheaded approach in dealing with both the good and bad times.

“In my cycling career, I’ve learned that you have to focus on being the best version of yourself, being consistent and not letting success go to your head or failure to your heart.”

Schoeman says she is more than wiling to sacrifice for her teammates to get the best result for Team South Africa.

“I believe this is one of the most balanced teams I have ever been part of.

“We have three possibilities for sprinters in Ashleigh, Cherise and An-Li, while Heidi is exceptionally good in breakaways. Lise’s ability to read races well will be crucial when different scenarios play out during the race.”

While final team dynamics will be determined closer to the event, she says Stander and Olympian Moolman-Pasio, who finished fourth in Spain’s UCI 2.1-rated Emakumeen Euskal Bira race last month, will probably be their strongest contenders.

“Both of them have had incredible results in overseas bunch sprints.”

Schoeman is quick to emphasise that the larger women’s team is not simply there to make up the numbers.

“I think we have a very realistic chance of medalling given the calibre of talent in the team.”

She believes defending champions Australia will be the team to watch.

“Great Britain has very strong sprinters and New Zealand are always the underdogs – we need to be careful that one of their riders doesn’t slip away in a breakaway.”

Schoeman says she was shocked to hear that their male counterparts will not be joining them – especially with riders like U23 world silver medallist Louis Meintjes and Tour de France stage winner Daryl Impey in contention.

“I have no doubt that the guys would have made an impact at the Games. I know our federation fought hard for them.”

Meanwhile she will be using the Knysna Cycle Tour on July 5 and 6 and Bestmed Jock Cycle Classique on July 19 as her final warm-up events before jetting off to Scotland.

Looking to the future, Schoeman says she has already begun working off the bike with her main sponsor Africa Silks.

“So I’ll eventually work with them full time, but in the meantime I’ll still be riding my bike because it’s my passion. I will always find new goals to accomplish but I find them as I go along.”

After 22 years of competitive cycling, she also has much to share in her capacity as brand ambassador and mentor to the young female riders in the Bestmed ASG team.

“I want the younger riders to see that even though riding at top level takes a lot of sacrifice, if you love it and it’s your passion it’s not really a sacrifice after all.

“And dedication and discipline can take you places you have never been –you just have to believe.”

For Schoeman, those places now include Glasgow 2014.

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