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Pragma sponsors its first ladies cycling team with riders Hanlie Booyens and Sharon Laws

Sharon Laws left and Hanlie Booyens right

Pragma is usually associated with the bike wash and sponsoring male and mixed cycling teams at the Epic. This year, we are adding some flavour to the mix and will be sponsoring team Pragma Volcan Ladies. Hanlie Booyens and Sharon Laws are both competitive and seasoned riders and will ensure that cycling enthusiasts keep a close watch on the overall ladies field.

Booyens and Laws finished first in the Ladies category in 2004 and 2009. After taking first place in the Ladies category in 2009, they made a pact to come back for the tenth edition of the race. “It will be a reunion, an anniversary of the start of a great friendship and a thank you for 10 years of solid bike racing! A podium spot will be a fantastic bonus but in all honesty we’re here to celebrate the 10th anniversary being the ladies winners of that very first Absa Cape Epic!”

In preparation for the 2013 Absa Cape Epic, Booyens admits she rides as much and as sensibly as her day job and body permit her to, and then some more. “I tend to overdo things, so for 2013 the plan is to focus on quality and not quantity – although I love those slow rides that take an entire day. With the Cape Epic, I think the danger is to peak too soon and be overcooked by mid-March. With regards to diet, generally the goal is a healthy, well balanced diet with not too many restrictions. My Achilles heel is Coke. I know it’s terrible, but I love it and anything from a bakery too.”

Laws’ training and diet is not that much different. “My job is a professional road racer, so I train on the bike 6 days a week between 1 to 5 hours a day in addition to core stability on alternate days and some swimming for recovery. The intensity and length of the rides depend on where I’m in my season and what races are coming up. In preparation for the Absa Cape Epic I expect to be doing some longer rides and getting used to riding on the dirt again. I like to eat good food, unprocessed and healthy. I also enjoy cooking and making my own energy bars and treats. One of the benefits of being a pro is having the time to concentrate on following a good diet. Good coffee and dark chocolate also feature high on my priority list, but it has to be good quality otherwise it’s not worth having!” says Laws.

Laws’ reckons there are several ingredients that are necessary for a successful finish. “Team work, a good partner, enjoying it, luck, fitness, realistic goal setting and expectations,” says Laws. To this Booyens adds: “Having fun with your partner. If you can be a positive, happy team you’re 80% there. Obviously you need the mileage, you need luck with mechanicals and staying healthy and injury free, but in the end you will hate it if you lose joy, whether you race or just ride.”

Pragma will also be sponsoring four men’s teams this year. Lieb Loots and Tony Conlon, competing in the Grand Masters category; Leon Erasmus and Evert Meintjes who finished amongst the top 60 teams in the Open Men’s category in 2012; Willem Coetzee, MD of Kromco (Pagma client) and his partner Malan Wykerd; as well as an upliftment team competing in the Development Jersey category, Max Matini and Shaun Mtisilana.

The finish line, bike wash and bike park will be business as usual, where we collect, wash and park the bikes of the majority of the 1200 participating cyclists. Pragma’s 2013 Leaders Development Team will execute the services at the Epic as a skills testing project and a number of Exxarro Academy cyclists, who’s not competing in the 2013 race, will assist as team members in the Bike Wash.

From 17 March to 24 March 2013, all eyes will be on the Western Cape as the world’s top riders compete for position in what is billed to be the most competitive event in the race’s history. Covering a distance of 698km with 15 650m of climbing, the race will finish eight days later at Lourensford Wine Estate.

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