The Free State’s Chanté Olivier has kicked off her 2018 campaign on a high note with another dominant performance to reaffirm her status as one of the leading, if not the leading, cyclists in South Africa.
On 3 February the Sentraal High School learner won of the first of four legs of the MTB XCO SA Cup 1 at Coetzenburg in Stellenbosch. She completed the three-lap course in 59.21 minutes for a convincing win over Chloe Bateson, who claimed silver in 1:02.45. Stefke Tolmay was a further 36 sec back in third.
It didn’t end there for Olivier, who switched her mountain bike for her road bike, and just three days later claimed the South African Road Time Trial for girls under 17 in Oudtshoorn.
Yet again she convincingly beat Bateson, however, this time Charlissa Schultz ran in third.
Three days later Olivier topped the podium again by winning the South African road race for Under 17, which also took place in the Little Karoo. Olivier beat Bateson by 2 min 23 sec, while Schultz occupied the bottom step of the podium again.
Olivier only turns 15 on 28 March and it was the first time that she was competing in an age group more than two years her senior. It’s the seventh consecutive year that she has won both times in her age group.
She will be testing her mettle overseas in the coming months when she competes in the MTB XCO in Switzerland and Italy (two of the mountain biking meccas of the world). She will be in Europe from 3 to 16 April.
Cycling it truly in the Olivier blood, with her little sister, the eight-year old Savanah, clinching the bronze at the SA Road Championships, which amazingly was in the Under 11 age group.
Other Free Staters who performed were Juan Odendaal, who won the Time Trial and Road Race gold in the Para C3 category, and Chanika Botes who took the girls Under 13 bronze in both the Time Trial and Road Race. – MORGAN PIEK