National team member Clint Hendricks put in a career-changing performance at the Tour of Eritrea earlier this year, but the RoadCover rider said he’d be riding for the team at the Jock Classic this weekend.
Hendricks, who finished fifth overall, said his success at the five-day tour in the north-eastern African country had given him a serious mental boost.
“After everything in Eritrea I still don’t even know if that is the limit of my capabilities. I’ve really surpassed what I thought I could do.”
The sprinter, who said he was now in a building phase in terms of his conditioning, said he would be “dedicated to helping the team get the best results” at the one-day, three-stage race in Mbombela on Saturday.
“We will probably ride for Brendon (Davids), who I think will be up there for the general classification, if not the overall win.”
Davids has been in good form over the last few months, most recently winning last weekend’s Knysna Cycle Tour, but RoadCover have more cards to play.
“On the first stage, we’ll ride for our captain Bradley Potgieter as he’s also got some good condition on him at the moment,” said Hendricks.
He didn’t rule out the chance to ride for himself, saying he’d take an opportunity if he saw one, but admitted the team would be the priority.
After proving his worth on the mountains in Eritrea, Hendricks said the Jock would be a completely different ball game, with a much higher tempo over the 42, 45 and 63km stages.
“The phases at the Jock are very short so I think it’s going to be a lot more intense than in Eritrea. Everything will be slightly quicker than if you did the whole thing without stopping.”
Hendricks said he knew from past experience that the second stage would be a decider as he felt many would struggle with the stop-start nature of the event.
“We’ll be very attentive on that stage and we’ll work to give Brendon a clear run to the finish,” he said.
“I’d say the last two stages will be the most difficult. The second one includes Spitskop and the third Long Tom Pass.”
The latter, with an average gradient of seven per cent, makes up 12km of the 150km route.
“Long Tom will be all about character and mental toughness,” said Hendricks.
He explained the first stage was the one he was most looking forward to as it would give a good indication for the rest of the day.