“It feels great and the cool thing about it [being the title holder for so long] is that wherever I went, whatever race I did, I got announced and introduced as the current Cape Town Cycle Tour champion.
“That had given me some extra exposure, which was nice.”
Hendricks, riding for Team BCX, said it was going to be a “win or nothing” race for him and his team on Sunday.
“It is going to be a flat-out race for us,” he said. “I’m feeling good, too [form-wise]; the sensations are there.
“I have had a really good tester the last couple of months on how hard and deep I could go. I am happy about that.
“Nolan [Hoffman] and my other teammates are going along well too. We have some quick chargers up front. But that could add pressure. That is just part of the game.”
Hendricks and BCX are currently racing in the five-stage Tour of Good Hope and he feels this could stand his team in good stead ahead of the Cycle Tour.
“I could not ask for any better preparation than racing before a big event,” he said. “It will enable us to see how our legs will respond, how the racing plays out and how the fatigue rate could set in.
“I am happy to be at the Tour of Good Hope,” he added.
A total of 13 Investec-Songo-Specialised mountain-bike riders taking part in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Stellenbosch on Saturday will also race in the Cycle Tour on Sunday.
Learning from his experience two years ago, Hendricks warned that they should be wary of the mountain-bikers on race day.
“As much as the roadies want to win it, there are the mountain-bikers who also want to pose a threat.
“From what I saw in 2016, they are really keen to make racing as hard as possible for the sprinters. I have to be prepared for a hard type of race.
“They [mountain-bikers] normally target the climbs to split the race apart. It could all go pear-shaped if you do a little bit badly on those climbs.
“The more eagerly I go on the climbs, the better I will be at the end of the race in the sprint.”
“Day has won the Cycle Tour before. He always seems to do well in it. Butler will probably be very hungry for some more race wins after switching to ProTouch from BCX.
“Those two, in terms of sprints, will be the main factors on the road side.”
Personally, he felt positive ahead of the race, Hendricks said. “I feel better than what I felt last year before the event got cancelled.
“It is all about preparing myself mentally now. I feel like I am on a similar level to what I was when I won it two years ago.”