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Parliamentary honours for champion Schoeman
- Updated: May 17, 2013
South African road cyclist Anriette Schoeman (Mecer/Africa Silks) received a Motion of Congratulations from the National Assembly for her cycling achievement when she bettered her own personal record of six Cape Argus Cycle Tour victories to win a record seventh title this year.
The Athens Olympian and eight-times national road cycling champion from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape was elated when she received the news. “It is something special when Parliament acknowledges an achievement. They sent me a letter of congratulations together with the Minutes of Proceedings of the National Assembly, where I was mentioned.”
The Motion of Congratulations acknowledged that Schoeman won the women’s title of her 15th Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour race in Cape Town in a time of 2hr 55min 53sec on Sunday 10 March 2013.
The letter further acknowledged that she was the first person to win seven titles in the annual race, and that her 2012 hopes of a podium finish were crushed after she was involved in a “catastrophic crash that rocked the final stretch for the elite women’s title. The Assembly congratulates you on your wonderful victory,” it said.
Schoeman affirmed her love and passion for cycling. “I love what I do. It’s not about achieving something, it’s about enjoying what you do. Happiness brings achievements, achievement doesn’t bring happiness and I feel that this mindset is something that I would like to rub off onto the younger generation.”
Alex Cooper, Schoeman’s manager, was equally ecstatic. “This is very unique to me as this is the first time in my career as a team owner and team manager that I have ever received something like this. Parliament do, on occasion, congratulate sportsmen, women and teams when they achieve something very special.”
Cycling SA President William Newman extended his congratulations to Schoeman. “Anriette has achieved many milestones in her illustrious cycling career in South Africa and on behalf of Cycling South Africa, we are extremely proud of her achievement being acknowledged by Parliament. We wish Anriette all the very best for the remainder of the season and for the many more cycle races she takes part in in the years to come.”
Schoeman ventures into unknown territory this week when she takes part in her very first mountain bike race. As if the crossover from road to off-road cycling is not daunting enough, the 35-year-old has made the three-day sani2c stage race her first event.
“I don’t know what I am getting myself into with sani2c!” chuckles Schoeman. “The road scene is a bit quiet at this time of year, so I have caught onto a relatively new trend where a lot of my road cycling peers have turned to mountain bike racing. Only starting at my age though, I haven’t mastered the skills yet, so when I get to the downhill sections I will have to close my eyes and hope for the best,” she laughs.
Her passion remains road cycling and Schoeman would love to see more younger women getting involved in cycling. After the sani2c, Schoeman will take part in the Knysna-200 mountain bike race and perhaps another MTB marathon-type race before her next road race, the cycle tour in Knysna.