Team dormakaba cyclist Robyn de Groot placed third in the elite women’s race at the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships held in Grächen, Switzerland last Sunday, this being her best ever finish at World Championships and the first medal for South Africa at the championships.
She finished just two minutes 40 seconds behind winner Pauline Ferrand-Prevot from France who completed the 70km course in 3:57:09.
“This season I decided to fund my European race block myself, even if it meant that the World Championships was a self-funded event, as I believed I stood a chance to better my previous results and it was my main goal of 2019,” says de Groot.
“My goal was to finish in the top five. Considering I had surgery in January, I never expected to get a podium. However, this has been amazing and for sure it is a great feeling and accomplishment. It certainly gives me good energy for the remainder of the season and 2020,” she says.
The racing conditions were good on the day.
“It was quite a technical route, so I think all the riders were really happy that the weather held. I arrived a few days earlier to inspect the route which was a worthwhile exercise. Compared to previous World Champs, the course had a lot of elevation in relation to the distance and it required a lot of focus.”
In terms of her preparation for the event she mentioned, “I have really been focused on maintaining balance. While I have been focused where necessary, I have also made time for my friends, family, and even ensured to find time to continue to play some golf. I felt relaxed going into the race and it has been a combination of so many things coming together at the right time.”
De Groot won the Rothaus Bike Giro in Germany last month, as well as had a strong performance at the M3Montafon ultra marathon in Austria in May. She has been working closely with her coach to train things she was previously unable to do due to the problem with blood flow she had to her leg.
“It was so nice to address things in my training we could not focus on for the past few years. I also learnt a lot from Sabine Spitz who played a huge role in helping me achieve this. The support from the dormakaba family has also been wonderful with my teammates really being supportive leading up to the event and Shaun Frayne, (MD of dormakaba South Africa) and the other sponsors ensuring I have the equipment needed to race to the best of my abilities.”
This week she will take some time off structred training, although looks forward to keeping active and riding at leisure before returning to South Africa next week. She is looking forward to the remainder of the season on home turf.
“I’m looking forward to race Berg & Bush with Amy (McDougall) as well as Wines2Whales late October, and potentially a few one day races before wrapping the season up. Of course, it is now about managing timing as well as resting up before the 2020 season.”
“We are so proud of Robyn and her accomplishments this season in Europe. She has quickly become an indelible part of team dormakaba and we cannot wait to see her race in South Africa again,” says Shaun Frayne, MD of dormakaba South Africa.