Former Ironman SA champion Raynard Tissink will be the vital cog in the Friendly City Cycles team in their quest to win the 66km team time-trial, the fifth leg of the Beachfront Lodges Premier Cycling League, in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Tissink, who won the fourth leg of the series convincingly over the weekend on his return from racing in Europe, will head the experienced six-man team that also includes Mario Nell, Lawrence van Lingen, Luthando Fatyi, Mike Bosch and Mark Ward.
Based on the team lists released by EP Cycling on Wednesday morning, their main competition should come from the Mecer-NMMU and Toyota-Cycle Lab squads. Both teams have been performing consistently well in recent weeks.
The university team are the current leaders in the league standings after winning the team classification at the first three events. However, they were beaten into second place by Toyota-Cycle Lab in the last race, which sets up an interesting showdown for Saturday.
Toyota-Cycle Lab will be led by strongman Antal Meiswinkel, who was second behind Tissink last week. The rest of the team, which consists of Weslee Todkil, Kevin Dorfling, Stephen Pugh, Doug Shadwell and Greg Gouveris, looks a well-balanced combination.
Mecer-NMMU’s Conrad Viljoen (winner of the first two legs) and Jade Muller will make their return to racing after both fell badly in last month’s South African Student Championships. Although their form will be an unknown quantity, their experience should benefit the team in this most technical of disciplines.
Like Tissink, Viljoen – who won the event at the student champs and placed fifth at the SA elite championships last year – is a time-trial specialist and his presence should inspire his team-mates. Apart from Muller, he will be supported by Ronnie Scheffer, Mark Murray, Wesley Augustyn and Reghardt Koen.
Walmer Club will be waiting in the wings to take advantage of any tactical mistakes by the top three teams. However, team leader Wayne Pheiffer admitted on Wednesday that the event did not suit their strengths. “We will give it our best shot anyway.”
The other five riders on the team are Roger and Brent Pheiffer, who are better know as sprinters, Jaco Lee, Paul Swanepoel and Kevin Taljaard.
Perhaps Walmer will be inspired by the fact that they won the event when it was last contested 17 years ago. Back then four-man teams rode a distance of 77km.
The race starts at 2pm from Altona Primary School and will be contested over six laps of the Pike Circuit.
For more information, contact race organiser Shane Bradfield on 074 114 4811.
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