LOCAL track cycling ace Susan Taverner’s hard work has paid off when she was named female cyclist of the year 2011 by East Cape Cycling.
Taverner, 56, received her award at the NMMU Sports Centre earlier this month for her top achievements nationally and internationally during the past season.
At the Track Cycling Masters’ World Championships in Manchester, England Taverner won gold and set a new world record in the 2000m pursuit in October last year in a time of 2 minutes 44 seconds, beating the previous record time of 2 minutes 46.551 seconds set by Australian Shirley Amy in Sydney in 2009.
Taverner also won gold in the 500m time trial and beat her personal best time in the 200m qualifiers.
She has competed in four successive world championships and her international medal count stands at 10.
Taverner competed in the 45 to 55 age group, riding against younger cyclists.
The Walmer resident has dominated the local track scene in recent years. She won five gold medals at the South African Championships in Belville last year, was named the East Cape female cyclist in 2009 and broke the 2010 South African record for the 2000m individual pursuit in a time of 2 minutes and 43.832 seconds.
She has also been the SA age-group 2000m pursuit title holder for the last four years.
“I am very pleased and excited (about the award),” said Taverner.
“It was what I set out to do, and I achieved it.”
The world champion attributes her success to mental preparation, hard work and the support of friends and family who believed in her.
“It took a lot of dedication and long hours,” she said.
Taverner has taken time off the bike for the past three months to rest, and assess her goals for this year.
President of East Cape Cycling, Shane Bradfield, believes Taverners’ performances were “top notch”.
He said for a woman her age to compete against younger cyclists is a great achievement.
“It shows that cyclists of any age can compete and achieve a feat like that. We are very proud of her,” said Bradfield.
“To have a world record behind your name shows that you are a class above the rest, he added.
“She was definitely the best female cyclist last year.”