TransCape mountain bike race recently paid tribute to former British road champion Sharon Laws, who took part in the TransCape MTB in 2016.
The organisers ASG Events dubbed the 5th Stage on top of the day’s major climb, Rusty Gate, (the 6km climb was included in the 68km route from Greyton to Villiersdorp) as the Sharon Laws Summit to honour the 42-year-old double Cape Epic champion, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer last year. According to the organisers, Sharon Laws performed very well on this segment last year.
At the end of 2015 Laws decided to retire from professional sport, but was persuaded to continue, signing with Podium Ambition for this season. The team allowed her to mix her passion for mountain biking with road commitments. She began the year in South Africa at the Cape Epic and finished it, as well as winning the British mountain bike marathon championships in Wales.
According to Cycling Weekly, Laws retired from professional cycling in August 2016. After riding the Prudential RideLondon GP, she had some lumps in her neck examined and it was then that the cancer was discovered.
“I assumed these were just due to a series of colds I seemed to have had continually during the season,” the 42-year old-explained in a statement. “I was shocked to be told they contained secondary cancer tumours.” Since then she has undergone extensive tests to locate the primary tumour and began a course of chemotherapy.
“Obviously I am trying to come to terms with what is happening,” the statement continued. “Up until starting the chemotherapy I could still ride my bike and, apart from recovering from the operations I had recently, felt normal.”
“As a professional cyclist I’ve had my share of setbacks, in particular the horrific crash I had in 2013, which put me in hospital for two weeks with serious injuries. I have come back each time. I hope that these experiences and my life as a professional athlete have prepared me for what will be my biggest challenge so far.”
Laws won the women’s division of the Cape Epic in its inaugural year (2004) and again in 2009 with partner Hanlie Booyens.