Hendrikz eager to take on Tour Durban hand cycling challenge30/08/2022
Hendricks eager for Tour Durban showdown05/09/2022
Cherise Willeit and her Sandton City Cycle Nation team mate Joanna van de Winkle will pose a major threat to the women’s podium at the aQuellé Tour Durban on Sunday 11 September, which kick starts the second half of the year’s competitive road racing calendar.
The pair will square up to the rest of the elite women entered for the 106km road race that makes a return to its traditional route before a fast return to the finish down the M13 and N3 freeways.
Willeit knows that they will have to ride smart to compete with larger women’s teams but says that she has a lot of confidence in Van de Winkel.
“We work really well together, and we talk a lot and communicate well during the race,” said Willeit. “We know who needs to go, when, and with which attacks, so that definitely helps.”
Willeit is in Europe helping her husband with team management for major races in France and Italy, and is managing to get in her quota of training every day.
“The training is going really well,” she said. “Now it is just to get the speed for the Tour Durban.
“We get back to South Africa on Wednesday and fly to Durban on Saturday. The focus will be on rest and short, sharp intervals the week before.”
“After the Tour Durban we pretty much have an event on every single weekend leading up to the Joburg Classic, which is the team’s biggest goal this year,” said Willeit.
“Jo and I haven’t raced in a while so we need to take every event as it comes and see what we need to work on. The Tour Durban will be an eye-opener for us but it will be good to see where we are.”
Willeit is respected as a thought leader in women’s cycling in South Africa and has actively promoted the sport for women as an elite athlete, and now takes that role into her new position at Cycling South Africa.
“I don’t think we have ever had such a strong group of elite women in South Africa, it is amazing,” she said. “Many of them are racing overseas, and they have increased the level of the women’s peleton by so much.
“The up-and-coming youngsters are so strong as well,” she added. “They are really motivated and dedicated, and I am so excited to see where they are going.
“We want to work with Cycling SA and the event organisers to attract more and more women into the sport, and especially into the racing category,” said Willeit. “The talent is there for sure!”
She said that she will approach the race with Van de Winkel with a clear goal in mind.
“We want to see where we are and how the form is but we never get onto a start line not wanting to win,” said Willeit.