Mecer-NMMU’s Ronnie Scheffer, who has won two of the last three bunch sprints, may just be the danger man in the fourth leg of the Beachfront Lodges Premier Cycling League in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The race (held over three laps of 26 kilometres each) takes place on the same undulating 78-kilometre course in the Seaview-area that saw Scheffer win an uphill sprint to finish second behind lone winner Clinton Barrow, the national under 23 champion, last month.
Former Springbok sprinter Roger Pheiffer (Walmer Club) said yesterday that he was getting back to his best form after some “consistent training” and that he himself had one eye on the victory if the race tactics played out in his favour.
He however pointed out that Scheffer was one of the few sprinters who could also climb well and that the latter had a good chance of being in the leading group should the race split up on the final climb. “If that’s the case, he will be tough to beat.”
Pheiffer said the field also had to watch out for Ironman Raynard Tissink (Friendly City Cycles), who had been campaigning in France and Germany recently. “He’ll probably be looking to get up the road on the flatter sections and use his time-trialling ability to stay away.”
He said it was in Walmer Club’s interest to keep the bunch together for as long as possible. “We have three extremely quick guys in our team and our chances of victory will increase substantially should it be a group finish.”
The 32-year-old said they would therefore have to be very attentive. “We can’t allow anyone to slip away, especially on the flatter sections.”
Toyota-Cycle Lab’s team leader and manager, Kevin Dorfling, said that although the whole team was “riding well”, they would probably be looking after the in-form Antal Meiswinkel.
“Last time we raced here, Antal was third. The circuit suits his riding style, especially the finish.”
Dorfling also predicted a bunch finish. “All the climbs are followed by long downhills and even if the peloton splinters, most riders should be able to reintegrate.”
Scheffer will be able to call on the support of the top, albeit slightly weakened, team in the series. Both Jade Muller and Conrad Viljoen (who won the first two league events) sustained serious injuries when they crashed out of the recent three-day South African Student Championships, which Mecer-NMMU won.
Mecer-NMMU (43 points) heads the team classification after three events, followed by Friendly City Cycles (32) and Toyota-Cycle Lab (31).
The main event starts at 2pm from Colleen Glen. A challenge race, which is open to anyone, starts five minutes later.
For more information, contact Shane Bradfield from Leisure Cycle Tours at 074 1144 811.
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