“Last year I came off the Cape Town Cycle Tour with a broken rib, so Emperors was actually my first race back.
“It will be a completely different race for me. I have good form from this first part of the season so we’re hoping for the best.”
Butler, who placed fourth in the SA National Road Championships elite road race last month, said he had had a bit of a rest after the recent Cape Town Cycle Tour and would see how his legs responded.
“We [ProTouch] always want to go into the race with a bit of confidence, so we’re hoping for the best.”
Characterising the 98km feature race as one which was fast and flat, Butler said it would suit him as a sprinter.
“There are not too many climbs and only a few drags so it usually comes down to a bunch sprint, which is good for me.”
The 29-year-old felt it was difficult to predict the outcome of the race, but said ultimately the goal was to pull off a result.
“The team is in a really good space and the guys have worked hard. One can’t predict the future but we’re hoping for a good result at the end of the day,” said Butler, who won the Ride for Sight last month.
He added that the team had a few options open to it, but if it came down to a sprint and he was there he would put in a 100 percent effort.
“Emperors is always an important one – it’s one of the last races heading into the winter season, so it’s good to end on a high and get the morale up before going into the next season.”
Regarding other top contenders, Butler said there were several teams eager to get the win.
“You can never count anyone out, especially at this time of the year when the guys have been putting in the work. Teams like BCX, Randwater-Transnet, Luso, Barzani and Cycle Power will be eager to try and take the win.”
Sunday’s feature race is preceded by a 48km road race. There is also a mountain bike component that offers 25km and 50km distances.