University of Cape Town (UCT) star cyclist Hayley Preen pedalled her way to an impressive result in the 2019 Cape Town Cycle Tour, finishing second in the U23 women’s race and securing a top-10 spot in the elite women’s category.
Preen began the race at 06:00 with UCT Cycling Club compatriot Saskia van der Merwe after Courteney Webb dropped out due to illness, and although an absence of street lights meant poor visibility and a slow and somewhat nerve-racking start, once they hit Smitswinkel Bay near Simonʼs Town the front runners began to pull away and a group of 35 women took the lead.
South African U23 road champion Tiffany Keep, who finished first and ahead of Preen in the U23 women’s race, and was the third woman home overall, launched an attack at the base of Chapman’s Peak, splitting the bunch even further. Preen held on to her position among the 20 women then leading the pack.
The main moves of the race came up the Suikerbossie climb out of Hout Bay, with a flurry of attacks among the leaders. A move by six women, including Keep, Candice Lill, Kim Le Court (second woman finisher) and winner Cherise Willeit stuck, with a lead of about 15 seconds on Preen’s group as they crested Suikerbossie.
The chasing bunch worked hard to close the gap, catching the leading women within 2 km of the finish.
“We have no doubt that with more race experience, Hayley will give these ladies a run for their money.”
Preen, however, got boxed in against the barrier leading up to the sprint, but her tenacity saw her hang on for a top-10 finish and second spot in the U23 women’s race.
Megan Anley, head of the UCT Cycling Club’s marketing portfolio, hailed Preen as a young talent with a “huge future” ahead of her.
“We have no doubt that with more race experience, Hayley will give these ladies a run for their money,” she said.
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