The pressure will be on in-form Jade Muller to continue Mecer-NMMU’s unbeaten run in the third leg of the Beachfront Lodges Premier Cycling League in Port Elizabeth this weekend.
Muller will probably assume the mantle of leadership after perennial winner Conrad Viljoen was not named in the final team for the two-stage event, which consists of a kermesse under lights at the Greenbushes Business Estate on Friday evening and a tough 78-kilometre road race at Seaview on Saturday afternoon.
Viljoen’s management team has opted to rest him ahead of next week’s South African Student Championships in PE, where he will start as one of the hot favourites.
Based on his third-place finish behind Viljoen and SA under 23 champion Clinton Barrow in the last event, which took place on a similar course, Muller should be hard to beat on Saturday.
The closing 10 kilometres are extremely tough and the gentle uphill finish will suit him, as well as right-hand men Ronnie Scheffer and Mark Murray.
Muller will however not have everything his own way in the kermesse, which will be held over 45 minutes plus two laps on a tight 1,8-km circuit.
“To be honest, I’ve never really covered myself in glory in these types of events and may end up helping a guy like Reghardt (Koen). I’ll try to limit my losses to stay in contention for the overall win.”
On paper, the men to watch out for are former Boks and experienced circuit racers Wayne Pheiffer (Walmer Cycling Club) and Mario Nell (Friendly City Cycles). They will be closely marked by Weslee Todkill (Toyota-Cycle Lab), Jimmy Baillie (PE Invitation) and Wesley Augustyn (Country Districts).
The kermesse starts at 7pm and the road race at 2pm. A 53-km challenge event, which will be held in conjunction with Saturday’s main race, is open to anyone.
For more information, contact Shane Bradfield on 074 114 4811.
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