With defending champion Matthys Beukes out of action, the chances of a new winning combination have increased when the Cape Pioneer Trek kicks off on Sunday.
Beukes partnered Gert Heyns (Scott LCB Factory Racing) to victory last year, but he is recovering from a serious fall and is unable to compete this time.
The most likely title contenders should be last year’s podium finishers – runners-up Roberto and Emanuele Crisi (Italy) and third-placed Bram Rood and Gerben Mos (Netherlands).
However, they could well be upstaged by the Estonian pair of Peeter Pruus and Peeter Tarvus (Rietumu–Delfin).
The Dutch Stappenbelt-Specialized team of Erik Groen and Jeroen Boelen are also likely to be in the hunt.
Groen is a former U23 national champion and ex-Crocodile Trophy winner Boelen has a top 10 finish at the Cape Epic behind him.
The top South African hopes are the Team NAD pair of Nico Bell and Gawie Combrinck.
The 2012 winners are unlikely to figure in Sunday’s short prologue stage, but they could well ride into contention as the week progresses.
“We’re pretty confident we have a good shot at the overall title, but we aren’t too sure about some of the overseas teams and how strong they are.
“We’re in good form, though, and I know the region quite well, so I am looking forward to giving it our best shot,” said Kleinhans.
The dark horses are the South African Team Spur pair of James Reid and Julian Jessop. Reid has won stages at the Cape Pioneer Trek before, but Jessop will be a rookie at this event.
The women’s race is likely to be a battle between two teams.
The experienced Catherine Williamson (Great Britain) will be teaming up with a new partner in her quest for a third victory. South African Leana de Jager will join Williamson as the Klein Karoo International team.
The pressure will most likely come from the OMX Pro pairing of South African XCO specialists, Mariske Strauss and Cherie Redeker.
The seven-day event, which carries International Cycling Union (UCI) status, has seen the overall titles in the men’s race swing back and forth between local and European riders over the past few years.
The Cape Pioneer Trek will cover 503km and will include a total of 9 720m of ascent.