The Stellenbosch professional, who won last weekend’s Liberty Winelands Encounter for the BCX team, is looking forward to his first appearance in the Eastern Cape mountain bike race based at the Zuurberg Mountain Village from May 26.
“Even though I have not ridden in the area much, I’m reasonably familiar with the terrain,” the 34-year-old said in reference to the route that takes in portions of the Addo Elephant National Park.
He said he had experienced trails in the Karoo near Oudtshoorn, which were similar to some GZT routes, so he knew what sort of challenges they would face.
The BCX pair will be looking to notch another win, but Woolcock acknowledged there would be strong opposition.
“You are definitely seeing more professional teams competing in these types of races.
“As a professional we have to try to give back to our sponsors so the greater the exposure we get, the better it is for everyone.”
He said riders such as defending champion Andrew Hill and new teammate Marco Joubert (TIB Insurance-Momsen), as well as TransCape champions Pieter Seyffert and Travis Walker (ASG-Ellsworth), would be strong contenders for the title.
Woolcock said they appreciated the efforts of the organisers in generating a strong professional field.
“They have definitely helped to draw us to the event and have made it as attractive as possible.
“I’m looking forward to a great race in a lovely part of the country and we are grateful for the backing the organisers have provided.”