RoadCover professional Willie Smit said the Bestmed Satellite Classic near Hartbeespoort Dam in North West on October 22 was an important race to test their conditioning after a strenuous programme this year.
The 23-year-old Nelspruit rider enjoyed success in the Bestmed Jock Tour in July, which followed the team’s success when Clint Hendricks crossed the finish line first in the Cape Town Cycle Tour in March.
As he looked ahead to the 106km feature race in the Classic, Smit said it was important to pace themselves wisely.
“It has been a long year and we have to keep something in the tank for next month’s 947.
“However, the Satellite Classic plays a very important part in testing our form and power output ahead of the Johannesburg race.”
Having last ridden the Satellite Classic in 2013, Smit said he felt the Hekpoort climb would provide a critical stage to push for victory.
Positioned about 30km from the finish, he said it was a tough enough climb to have a decisive effect on the outcome.
“So if you can get over there in the lead group, and you have the right team-mates with you, it will be much easier to push for the win.”
Although the main ascent of the day was followed by another nasty uphill test in Poeierbult, Smit felt the race “should be decided on Hekpoort”.
The RoadCover leader said he was in good condition, having just returned from a multiday race on the island of Reunion.
“For me, it is all about my weight because everything is about power to weight ratio.
“Even if I’m training hard, I just end up losing power when my weight isn’t correct,” said the all-rounder.
Smit said he expected a challenge from riders such as JC Nel and Neil Robinson, who race under the ProTouch banner.
“Neil is pretty quick at the finish, but I do not know at this stage who the other top riders are. It’s mainly about seeing who pitches up on the day.”
Besides the feature race over a distance of 106km, the Classic offers 80km and 60km options and attracted well over 3 000 participants last year.
Although online entries have closed, late entries will be accepted from 9am to 5pm on October 20 at Cyclelab Fourways and from 9am to 5pm on October 21 at The Bicycle Company in Centurion.