Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg, who won the SA National Road Championships race last year, will miss this week’s individual time trial and 120km feature events due to an ongoing groin injury.
Janse van Rensburg battled with the injury for most of last season and had it operated on in October.
The Dimension Data rider said he went for two MRI scans and only after the second was the injury discovered.
“I raced for most of the season with the injury,” he told In the Bunch today. “We couldn’t figure out what the problem was; the first MRI scan in July didn’t show anything.
The injury indirectly affected his season, Janse van Rensburg said. “Whenever I reached good form, the pain would come back and affect me.”
Janse van Rensburg said winning the National Championships last year was a “great honour”.
“It’s a very important race for any cyclist in South Africa,” he said. “It was a great honour to have had that jersey and to wear it in Europe, representing my country. It was very important to me.
“It’s disappointing that I cannot defend my title this year, but it’s out of my hands.
“I was supposed to be fit again to be able to take part in the race this year, but the injury flared up again last month. I need more time to recover,” he added.
Talking about the road race in Oudtshoorn as a spectator this year, Janse van Rensburg said the conditions of the route could open the competition up.
“The route is very flat and much shorter than in previous years,” he said. “This can make the local riders a much bigger threat; it will make it easier for them to be competitive.
“The BCX riders, such as Clint Hendricks, Nolan Hoffman and Chris Jooste will be very competitive on the short circuit.
“But obviously you can never underestimate Daryl Impey. He is in some really good form after winning the Tour Down Under. Riders will have to be smart to beat him.
“The race will most probably end in a big bunch sprint, but that depends on the wind,” he added.
Janse van Rensburg hopes one of his DiData teammates – Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Nicholas Dlamini, Jaco Venter or Ryan Gibbons – will take the title this weekend.