Cycle Power’s John Vlok is confident about taking on the trapNET 360 cycle race, despite having a depleted team, when the 100km event unfolds in Centurion, Pretoria, on Sunday.
Team leader Maurice Moller was forced to withdraw after contracting a virus. As vice-captain, Vlok was then handed the captaincy.
Despite the setback, Vlok said he still had big ambitions for the race.
“I’m hoping to pull one off for the team,” he told In the Bunch today. “I was battling with a bit of illness myself at the Jock Classic [last weekend], so it was a disappointing event for me.
“Heading into the trapNET I’m feeling really strong; my legs feel good.”
The team will comprise four riders, including Vlok. The 21-year-old admitted their reduced numbers might pose a challenge on race day.
“It will be quite difficult having limited numbers and trying to control teams such as BCX and Office Guru in the bunch,” he said.
“We will have to try to keep the bunches together, which could be a challenge; but we still have strength in the minimal numbers we have.
“The aim will be to keep the bunch together for the finish,” he said, adding that they would look to have at least one rider in the breakaways to attempt to draw out the “big” riders.
Their main aim was to limit BCX’s and Office Gurus’ power, while “keeping Keanan Roodt and me for the finish”, Vlok said.
Vlok, from Pretoria, described the route as “very flat”, which could play in his favour, especially if the race came down to a sprint finish.
“The route being flat suits me perfectly,” he said. “The race is in my home town, so I know the route quite well.
“I train there almost every day, so it might be quite interesting to see how everything pans out.
“There are quite a few drag sections where the bunch could split up. Knowing where to position myself when that happens will be vital.
“I back myself for a sprint finish, being a track cyclist originally,” he added.