Jennie Stenerhag

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The sweetest victory!


Yesterday I won The Cape Argus Cycle Tour! This is probably the biggest race I have won! And also very special to me since it was the first road race I ever did when I started cycling in 2004, and since then I have wanted to win this special race. The Argus is the worlds biggest cycle race in terms of number of participants and the biggest event of the year in Cape Town and the most important race for South African cyclists. The race was live on national TV so lots of friends around the country had seen it and I don’t think that I have ever got so many sms’s and phone calls in one day. 


I had to work hard for that victory! We were about 60 girls starting with the men vets 40-49, they were about 250 so it was a huge bunch. On top of the South African teams there was also a team from England and an Italian girl. It was so windy that we were almost hoping that the race would be canceled because of the risk of accidents. After only 400 meters we had the first crash when the wind took down about 50 cyclists and created a chaos in the bunch. The wind made the race very hard, some places very dangerous and at one point the elite men said they were going 8km/h downhill and they were pushing it, that was how strong the head wind was! After about half way into the race the bunch split and we were 6 girls that got in to the first bunch and after that the men were pushing it very hard, at one stage I did not even think I could manage to stay with them. Luckily I felt better on the last hills so I knew it would be a sprint between the 4 girls still in the bunch. The sprint was a bit of a mess together with the men, it is always hard when you sprint with another group but not against them, it is a bit hard to know where your oppositions are. I did not want to be boxed in so with 500 meters to go I was at the front and started the sprint, unfortunately just before the finish 2 men boxed me in anyway and just before the line I had to break and stop my sprint. As I passed the line I saw Anriette to my right punching her arm in the air as if she won the race. It made me confused and very disappointed if I had lost the race in that way. I still thought I had it but she was so sure. It took a whole hour until the prize giving until they told me that I had won! It was a very sweet victory! 


Second was Anriette Schoeman from Nashua and third was Merissa Van de Merwe. 


The wind was so bad that they eventually called the race off, there were too many accidents for the last fun riders to finish safely.  


My sponsors, Alpha Pharm made a huge thing about this, they were so happy, maybe even happier then me:-) Since this is the biggest race you can win in South Africa and the race everyone always talks about, and lots of the Alpha Pharm people were there to watch, it felt very nice to be able to win in front of them. And also that my parents were here all the way from Sweden to watch, they were very proud parents yesterday. 


Cape Argus has an exchange with Nova Colli, a race in Italy, so I won a trip to Italy in May to take part in this race. 


I was supposed to go back to Sweden tomorrow but have now got a new ticket so will stay in South Africa for another month.


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