Anriette Schoeman has won more bike races than any woman in South African history. Her career wins exceed an unfathomable 400, that's more than most people will ever participate in. She has been winning races since she was at school and has continued to do so over nearly 30 years. She has raced, Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, World Champs among races for teams in Europe and road and mtb races on all continents.
Cycling was her salvation from a tough childhood and has given her an incredible life travelling all over the world, spending time with people she enjoys. The ever smiley, diminutive 'pocket rocket' is a sprint ace with grit - she loves to race hard and wishes women could still race among the men like the good old days. She wisely points out that gender bias stems from treating people differently from birth, a lesson that transcends cycling. Her healthy appetite to train consistently and continue to race is a reason why, at 44, she's still racing and looks half her age.
On the other side of the generation gap is another South African road cycling champion who's half her age. Hayley Preen is only 22 and rocketed into the South African team at Worlds after a stellar season. The multi talented, effervescent youngster has performed at a national level in both show jumping and triathlon. She very recently crashed out of the Cape Epic with a broken wrist while lying 3rd overall, yet despite a cast on her arm when we met to record this podcast, she was revving to get doctors clearance to race 947 Ride Joburg just 3 weeks later.
Womens cycling is on a high in 2021. The inaugural action packed Paris Roubaix then the launch Zwift Tour de France Femme in 2022 just happened on the back of the most exciting ladies World Cup XCO mountain bike series ever. There has never been a better time to be a pro lady cyclist, they are finally close to on par with mens cycling. Hayley is relishing a potentially much more lucrative career with less obstacles and far greater incentives than Anriette had.
We found our timely discussion, witnessing the changing of the guard as Anriette passes the baton over, highly entertaining, interesting and insightful. We hope you do too.