Cape Town - For
someone who has conquered a myriad of challenges, British Olympic Games hero
Dame Kelly Holmes feels a tremor of trepidation as she looks ahead to the
Bestmed Tour of Good Hope cycling race in South Africa next year.
46-year-old, who won two gold medals at the Athens Olympics in 2004, described
herself as a cycling novice and admitted that she was just a tad nervous for
the 515km examination that lay ahead.
who lives in Kent in south-east England, will be part of a team of eight
British cyclists who will compete in the country’s flagship road tour among the
Cape Winelands from March 6-10.
former middle-distance athlete, who has visited SA regularly since 1993 and has
a holiday home in Stellenbosch, said she had heard about the Tour of Good Hope
through her friend Alexis Barnes, a semi-pro rider.
is a very good rider who has taught me a lot about cycling. She helped me at
RideLondon-Surrey 46, which was my first outing in a race.”
event, which begins at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London, is held in
July each year over distances of 100 and 46 miles, with the latter aimed at
novices and younger riders.
literally know it will be 10 times harder than any cycling I have done before
and I will definitely be hoping for some ‘good hope’,” chuckled Holmes.
I enjoy a personal challenge and doing something at which I’m not so good makes
me all the more determined to do well.”
decided to concentrate on cycling after running the London Marathon in April.
Despite finishing in the impressive time of 3:11, she said she realised her
running days were coming to an end.
though running the marathon was a good experience I discovered my body is not
conducive to running these days, so I thought I would get on my bike a bit
said she loved the RideLondon experience and that she “kind of got into it ever
her cycling skills will come under much greater scrutiny and she acknowledged
she had plenty of training to do.
main goal for the Tour of Good Hope, she said, was “that I make it”.
have to get my athletics brain on and train really hard for the next four
months. I just want to get as good as I can and not let the others down.
equally, I have heard it’s a good ride and there are always people riding with
you even if you aren’t having a good day.
will just try to get into shape and to be the best rider I can be in the time
that I have.”
British star retired from athletics in 2005 after winning both the 800m and
1 500m races in Athens, the same year in which she received a knighthood.
then she has become heavily involved in charity work, setting up the Dame Kelly
Holmes Trust to assist children who are disadvantaged.
will use her trip to the Tour of Good Hope, which is presented by Scicon and
the City of Drakenstein, to continue her fundraising efforts, while she also
wants to take the chance to raise the profile of the cancer disease, myeloma.
mother is suffering from the disease and we want to bring more awareness to
those who are battling with it,” said Holmes.
want to get the right treatment and the right drugs to the patients, so I want
to do more work to raise that awareness.”