The 27-year-old from Queensburgh enjoyed what can only be termed a stellar year on the bike, finishing the aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers, in a time of 2.51.25 and the Amashova in 2.48.47, faster than both Lise Olivier and An-Li Kachelhoffer, whose respective winning times were 2.54.59 and 2.57.28.

Despite having the fastest time on the day, Bezuidenhout explains why she was not crowned the winner.

ccs-62657-0-23681300-1493365430.jpgHaving registered the fastest time in the ladies race in 2016, Lauren Bezuidenhout will now line up in the elite women's batch for the first time at the 2017 aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers, on Sunday, 30 April. Jetline Action Photo/ Gameplan Media
“I was not seeded in the elite women’s batch,” said the former South African team swimmer and underwater hockey player. “It is so easy to do a faster time when you are not in the seeded women’s batch. If you are riding in one of the other seeded batches with men then you can just sit in the bunch and hang on for as long as possible and they will pull you along.”

This year Bezuidenhout will be able to mix it with the top elites with the knowledge that if she is once more fastest she will earn the plaudits and prizes for winning, but she is not expecting too much and modestly says she has no chance of another fastest time this year which will count as an official win.

“I am just riding with the elites this time to see how it goes and because my friends said I should see how well I can do.

“My goal is just to hang in with the fastest girls as long as I can. I have never raced with the elite ladies so it will be a learning experience. I just want to have a good time and learn.”

Bezuidenhout has only been riding for a very short time so she openly admits she is still on a learning curve.

“About this time two year ago I hopped on a bike and started cycling with some people who have now become good friends.

“From the beginning of last year I started training seriously, going from riding about twice a week to about five times.”

The results speak for themselves and it seems likely she has the talent to at least mix it with the best women, but Bezuidenhout refuses to be drawn into speculating about a future as a cyclist.

“I’m not too sure about how well I can do in cycling yet. Some people I ride with and my friends think I may have the ability, but I am not too sure how I will race against the elite women.

“I am just cycling because I enjoy cycling. I love it. I just love to wake up and ride. It is just pure enjoyment for me and the cycling community is amazing.”

The 2017 aQuellé Tour Durban, presented by Bridge Fund Managers, takes place on Sunday 30 April. More information can be found at www.tourdurban.co.za.