Himeville – The 2015 Nedbank sani2c women’s title challenge is one defending champions Robyn de Groot and Jennie Stenerhag aim to dominate when the three day stage race from Sani Pass to Scottburgh Main beach takes place from 14-16 May despite De Groot’s build-up campaign having been hampered by a plaguing shoulder injury.
The Ascendis Health duo comfortably clinched last year’s title but are expecting a far stiffer challenge this time around as a richly talented women’s field assembles for the 2015 contest and a hairline fracture to De Groot’s clavicle has reduced her time in the saddle.
“Since the Cape Epic I’ve just been working on trying to clean up as best I can,” explains Johannesburg’s De Groot. “I had a fracture at the tip on my clavicle so I’ve been trying to keep that as still as possible and have reduced to the indoor trainer quite a bit.”
“I don’t see my injury as a setback though; it has just been a really good rest period for me, especially after Epic, and nor do I think it will have any impact on our sani2c.
“Our goal for sani is definitely still to try win the women’s title again!
“Being one of the better known races in the country, even amongst those that aren’t mountain bikers, it is always a nice title to win so we’ll definitely look to give it our all again this year,” she adds.
While few elite athletes are able to string together consecutive victorious efforts, 32 year-old De Groot doesn’t believe there is any added pressure on her and 39 year-old Swedish team mate Stenerhag’s shoulders going into this year’s race.
“People often talk about the added pressure of being the defending champions but I don’t look at us as being defending champions; it’s a new year, a new race and a new opportunity for us to try challenge for the title.
“Last year is behind us and this year is a whole new opportunity!” says De Groot.
The understanding and mutual respect that the pair have for one another is something that De Groot believes is something that will aid in their title challenge immensely, a challenge that if successful would see De Groot claim a rare sani2c triple having successfully combined with Ischen Stopforth in 2013 as well.
The 11th edition of the Nedbank sani2c's gets underway when the Trail event takes place from 12-14 May 2015. The Adventure then unfolds from 13-15 May before the cream of the the country's top mountain bikers do battle during the Race from 14-16 May. More information can be found at www.sani2c.co.za