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Twin cyclists on the cusp of success

Nicholas and Sophia Friedrich are fraternal twins with identical passions for cycling. For them it’s more than just a sport, but rather a family bonding exercise entrenched since their childhood.

The 17-year-olds individually boast personal goals and national recognition for cycling accomplishments at various levels – and the close relationship they share helps them motivate each other to reach even greater fame.

Now in Grade 12 at Somerset College, it will be their final year in the junior category at the South African Cycling Championships and the outcome could well seal their destiny.

“We definitely get it from our father, Ricco,” says Sophia. “He’s a seasoned and well accomplished cyclist himself.”

The twins started cycling at a really young age, around nine or 10 years old, and used to mostly go mountain biking, a safer option and more of a hobby for them at the time.

“We used to enter various cycling events in Ladysmith as well as in Knysna; it was incredible fun,” Sophia recalls.

Nicholas adds that they started road cycling around age 14; the hobby remained a favourite activity that comes with it’s own challenges that test one’s resilience and determination.

“I’ve been injured three times last year alone, broken bones and got up again. You’ve got to remain motivated and have personal goals to keep you driven,” he relates.

On a tour with the SA Cycling Federation in Europe last year he was hit by a car while riding in Belgium, which cut the trip short and put him off the road for a good few weeks.

The twins participated in up to 16 cycling events last year. For Nicholas the tour to Europe was probably his biggest accomplishment, despite him not getting the chance to finish.

“My aim is to get into the team again this year and complete the tour in Europe. I also really want to compete in the nationals.”

Sophia participated at nationals in Durban last year and delivered a stellar performance, which secured her a third place in the junior ladies’ category.

“I’m working towards improving my performance at the nationals this year and I also want to race with the Elite women at the Cape Town Cycle Tour,” she says.

Coming from a cycling family, the Friedrich twins are grateful and appreciative of each other as it allows them to “always have company” when training.

“Neither of us has to ever feel alone. For me, it’s great to test my strength against that of my brother. We train together as much as possible,” says Sophia.

Now in their final year of school, the twins want to keep cycling but are wary of what the future might hold.

“We haven’t really committed to what’s next. Both of us want to study, but also maintain a firm grip on the sport we love. It can be tricky to find that balance between cycling and school. It is time consuming and we’ve been dedicated to cycling for the past few years. Once we know the outcome of this year’s events, we’ll be in a clearer frame of mind as to what we would pursue,” says Nicholas. “For now we’re just enjoying every minute if it.”

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