Hylton Belitzky will show off South Africa’s colours at the UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships starting at the VELO Sports Center in Los Angeles, USA, this weekend.
Belitzky, 43, will be joined by just one other South African, Matthew Ferguson of Cape Town, out of a team of six originally selected to take part.
Riding in the 40 to 44 age category, Belitzky will specialise in the time-trial and match sprint.
“My goal is to finish in the top 10 again and hopefully get as close to the podium as possible, or even on the podium,” Belitzky told In the Bunch.
“The sprint isn’t my main event, but I will see how I get through the rounds with that.
“I came eighth in the sprint two years ago, so I would like to perhaps better that position [this year].”
Belitzky expects the competition to be stiffer this year.
“There are some new guys who have come up from the age group below who are really fast and also unknown. The competition will be really tight.
“There are [new] guys from Europe, South America and America, so I think we’ll be in for a hard championship but it should be a good one.”
He felt confident of putting up a strong performance.
“I’m in quite good condition, probably as strong as I’ve been the last few years, so I’m quite confident of having a good event.
“Preparations have been good. I was training locally in Durban before I arrived here. I got here last week to prepare and acclimatise.
“I’m looking forward to getting back on the wooden track. They have a beautiful facility here and it’s important to gain enough confidence on a different surface.”
Ferguson will ride in the 50 to 54 age category in the match sprint, time-trial, points and scratch disciplines. He made his return to track cycling four years ago after a 25-year break from the sport.
He joined the TrackCyclingSA club and has featured in many of the Western Province track leagues as well as interprovincial and national championship events.
Ferguson first represented SA at the masters world champs three years ago.