Having spent six months off the competitive saddle, six-time South African marathon champion will return to competitive racing when she teams up with defending champion Sam Sanders at the 2019 KAP sani2c starting on Thursday.
De Groot last raced in November 2018 and had surgery for blood flow problems after battling with burning sensations and loss of power in her left leg which became a long-term issue for the decorated rider.
The sani2c will be her return to racing and despite being the race being ahead of when she planned on returning she couldn’t refuse the offer.
“When Sam asked me I laughed at first,” De Groot said with a smile. “I had only planned on racing again in August but I thought that sani2c was a great way to get back into it and dormakaba have been great in supporting us.
“My recovery has gone smoothly as well and I have been training for the last six weeks so I felt I couldn’t say no.”
Having had to sit on the side line for such an extended period of time, many people might suffer mentally but De Groot has dealt with the ordeal well.
“Mentally I knew that there was nothing I could do and I prepared well for the time away from riding, but I miss racing!
“To pack a bag and a bike and get ready for a race has been quite a surreal feeling this week, I’m really excited.
“I don’t feel like I will be out of my depth this week,” she added positively.
Sam Sanders and team-mate Amy McDougall were unparalleled in 2018 and considering her and De Groot have never ridden together in a race and are both returning to competitive action after lay-offs, they will take a conservative approach to the three days of racing.
“We are both quite relaxed going into the race and with me having been sick at joberg2c and Robyn making the return from injury so I am just happy to be riding again and to be on a team with Robyn,” Sanders said.
“She is such a fierce competitor on the bike so we are just going to take it as it comes and give it our best out there every day.
“I think that we will match up well and we are both experienced so I think that we will look after each other nicely and ride consistently.”
The duo will be racing under the dormakaba name and the Galileo Risk team will probably provide Sanders and De Groot with their biggest test while the Bell Equipment duo of Hayley Smith and Andrea de Boer will also be pushing for a podium.
“Sarah Hill and Theresa Ralph will be good competition because they know each other well and have raced together on a number of occasions.
“Generally they are quite consistent which means that they will be a good challenge over the three days which is exciting,” Sanders added.