Beukes got used to topping the podium when he won the Wines2Whales race, Berg and Bush Descent, 3 Towers, joBerg2c and the National MTB Series toward the end of last year. He also finished first in the Madibaz XCO Series and the Knysna Cycle Tour MTB race.
“My fitness is still good,” Beukes told In The Bunch today. “We ended last year quite strong and I took that form into the off-season.
“I’ve been training hard since the middle of December. It will be exciting to test my legs.
“My power output has been good, so I hope I can get the job done at the Attakwas,” he said.
“Attakwas is one of the classics,” Beukes said. “It’s a great way to start the season.”
The 30-year-old PYGA Euro Steel rider, who won the Attakwas in 2012, said the second half of the race could be decisive.
“You don’t want to head into the final 60km with tired legs,” he said. “We may ride that whole section against strong headwinds coming from the coast.
“”There are also two sharp climbs with about 20km left, which may get the better of some beginners. I’ll want to be at my freshest before hitting those hills.
“The last stretch is tricky; not the kind of route that allows for a sprint finish. It will be a gamble to rely on that,” he added.
Tactically, he would have to be smart, Beukes said. “You won’t want to go into the last 60km too tired, but at the same time it will be in your favour if you can tire out the opposition.
“It’s a difficult balance. It’s important to make the right decisions and pace yourself correctly,” he added.
Beukes feels six-time Cape Epic winner Karl Platt poses the biggest threat. “He’s a very experienced rider. We’ll have to keep an eye on him.
“We may help each other on most parts of the race, but if it comes down to it, we could race each other at the end.”