Ace sprinter Mario Nell (Friendly City Cycles) will have a second bite at the elusive cherry in the 96km eighth leg of the Beachfront Lodges Premier Cycling League at Greenbushes in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Nell, who gave last weekend’s hill-strewn race the cold shoulder to concentrate on his preparations for the upcoming World Masters Games and the UCI Track Cycling Masters Championships in Sydney, should find the flat Hi-Tech circuit to his liking.

After a quiet start to the league, he impressed three weeks ago when he finished runner-up behind Conrad Viljoen (Mecer-NMMU) in the sixth leg, which took place over similar terrain. Based on that performance, he will be one of the heavy favourites to stop Viljoen from gaining a hat-trick of wins this weekend.

Nell was however quick to play down his chances earlier this week. “Yes, the course suits me, but I’m not sure that I’ll have the legs towards the end.”

He said that although he had been training “very hard”, his preparations were geared towards the shorter criterium and track races that he would be riding in Australia in October. “I’ve been doing lots of intervals, but hardly any distance.

“If I’m still in contention at the end, I believe I can pull it off,” he said, naming former Bok sprinter Wayne Pheiffer (Walmer Cycling Club) as his biggest threat in the final dash to the line.

Nell said the distance and expected windy conditions would also bring in-form “non-sprinters” like Viljoen and Mark Murray (Mecer-NMMU) into play. “They are extremely fit and there is no substitute for miles in the legs.”

Former national development rider Welcome Stokwe (Friendly City Cycles) could also be a fly in the sprinters’ ointment after placing fourth in the toughest race of the season last week. By his own admission, his form is the best it has been for six years.

Other riders knocking on the victory door are Weslee Todkil (Toyota-Cycle Lab) and Ronnie Scheffer (Mecer-NMMU), who were fifth and sixth last weekend, Antal Meiswinkel (Toyota-Cycle Lab), who was eighth, and Brent Pheiffer (Walmer Cycling Club), who has just returned from the UCI Track World Championships.

It will also be interesting to watch Friendly City Cycles’ new signing, Francois Geldenhuys, who is reportedly in good form. Last week’s runner-up, Ironman Raynard Tissink (Friendly City Cycles), is competing overseas.

The main race, which consists of eight laps of 12km each, starts at 2pm from Hi-Tech on the Van Stadens River Mouth road.
Two Cycle Challenge races, over two and four laps of the same circuit respectively, start immediately afterwards. Entry is open to anyone and costs R30.

For more information, contact Shane Bradfield on 074 114 4811.

Issued by:

Full Stop Communications

Coetzee Gouws
041 368 4992
082 575 7991

On behalf of:

EP Cycling