With the odds stacked against them, Willie Smit’s RoadCover team will be aiming to make life as difficult as possible for their rivals in the 103km road race at the Bestmed Cycle4Cansa Championship at Sun City on Sunday.
On a route that will make the mouths of the top sprinters in the country water, the fast men will be gearing up for a tilt at the title held by BCX’s Nolan Hoffman.
African continental road champion Smit has had a number of successes this year, including overall victory at this month’s Lowveld Tour, but said he was not at his peak power after losing “a bit of weight”.
“We will definitely be behind Clint Hendricks for this one,” he said of his teammate who won Tour Durban this year.
“We know that BCX will be behind Nolan Hoffman and the generally flat and fast route is one which suits them more than it does us.
“But I believe it will be a good fight. You never give up in a race of this nature and I am sure it will be a hard battle until the end.”
Smit said they were familiar with the route and ready to throw down the gauntlet to the other contenders.
“It is no secret that our team’s strong point is to ride an aggressive race, which is something that will suit Clint.”
Hendricks showed his speed when he won the final stage of the Lowveld Tour in a gallop to the line ahead of BCX’s Reynard Butler and Hoffman.
“BCX might by more conservative, but we will try to make it more difficult for them,” said Smit, who is fresh from winning three races in Europe.
He added that the route could get a bit tricky halfway through if the wind came up.
“That can make for some exciting racing and then it is all about who has the most teammates with them and the strongest legs.”
He added that Hoffman’s speed made him a dangerous rival, while he felt Butler was also looking good after the Lowveld Tour.
“I can’t see anyone else being faster than them.”
The two-day cycling festival on Saturday and Sunday will attract thousands of competitors to the Pilanesberg resort to celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the country’s longest-running events.
In that time the race has raised more than R3.6-million for the Cancer Association of South Africa and Smit was glad to offer his support to that aspect.
“There is always a sense of responsibility to support these events,” he said. “We do have a long season in South Africa and entering races is dependent on the team’s schedule, but it is good to be involved in something like this.”
In addition to the 103km feature event, Sunday’s road programme will include a 70km race. Saturday’s mountain bike races are over distances of 25km and 50km.