Van Heerden finished second last year behind teammate Brendon Davids, who went on to win the Jock Tour in September before heading to Australia for a series of international races.
The RoadCover all-rounder said he had ruled himself out of the running after recently recovering from inflammation of the heart, a condition that forced him to spend the bulk of the season off the bike.
Last week, Van Heerden said he would commit himself to his team and ruled himself out of the running for the title.
The 23-year-old delivered an impressive yet surprising result when he was narrowly beaten into third by BCX’s Calvin Beneke.
It was a result that gave Van Heerden great confidence going into next year.
“I’m surprised and very grateful to get another podium, especially after just two months of training,” said Van Heerden.
“The result definitely gives me confidence, especially building up to next year. It really gives a mental boost when it comes to training.”
The Hatfield resident admitted there may have been some luck involved in his achievement after he took advantage of the rivalry in the group chasing Impey.
Roughly 10km from the finish, Van Heerden was part of a group chasing leaders Impey, Beneke, Nolan Hoffman, Clint Hendricks and Willie Smit.
He explained that Impey made his move roughly 6km from the finish and, with no one wanting to take up the chase, his breakaway companions missed their chance to close him down.
“He (Impey) played his cards well. I think the other guys probably didn’t know who was going to attack and that gave him his chance to get away.”
Knowing he had Hendricks and Smit up the road, Van Heerden made his move at the base of the final climb in Steyn City.
Followed by Tshwane Classic champion Chris Jooste, National Classic Cycle Race mountain bike winner Shaun-Nick Bester, Jayde Julius, Reynard Butler and Marc Pritzen, they were able to reel in Hoffman, Hendricks, Smit and Beneke.
“I went to the front and Clint gave me a sign to attack again, but I wasn’t sure what had happened ahead before that, so I didn’t know what position I was going for,” said Van Heerden.
“Coming into the finish I heard the commentator say we were sprinting for second. I was quite surprised, but I decided to go for it and go all out.”
He was beaten by the smallest of margins by Beneke, but said it was nevertheless a good way to end the year.
His focus now, said Van Heerden, would be to continue building up to the form he had earlier this season, but admitted there was a lot of work to be done.