Team-mates Conrad Viljoen and Jade Muller are set to become adversaries when they line up as favourites for the elite title in the Eastern Province road cycling championships over 138 kilometres in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

Viljoen (24) and Muller (22), who rides for Mecer-NMMU, returned from Mpumalanga this week where they placed third in the mountainous four-day Panorama tour, which is based on a two-man team format.

“It all depends how well we recover after the tour and the travelling,” Viljoen said yesterday. “We will either be in fantastic form, or terrible.”

The smart money will however be on Viljoen – who has dominated the local cycling scene for a number of years – to get the better of Muller and the rest of the bunch.

Viljoen said the route, which consists of four 38,5km circuits, was “medium” in terms of difficulty.

According to him, only about five kilometres of each lap were uphill, which meant it was almost a flat race and he did not rule out surprises in the final standings. “The terrain makes it much more open, especially if your tactics are spot on.”

Like last year, he believes the wind will have the final say. “If the wind comes up, the odds will be with riders who are able to position themselves the best.”

Viljoen said he believed a rider like Ironman Raynard Tissink (Friendly City Cycles), who is a superb time trialist, would come into his own on this circuit. “Even though he participates as a veteran, he could influence the overall race substantially.”

The road race starts at 8am from Cows Corner in Colleen Glen.

The EP time trial (8am) and hill climb (1pm) championships will take place from Altona Primary School in Greenbushes and Cows’ Corner respectively on Friday.

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