Luso AC/DC’s Beneke finished second last year, losing out to Mitchelton-Scott WorldTour rider and national champion Daryl Impey by just under a minute. He’s hoping to possibly move to the top step this time round.
“The Luso guys are looking forward to it and everyone wants to end the season with a bang,” Beneke told In the Bunch today.
“My goal is obviously to do well. I always try my best and I will see how it goes. I’m definitely excited for the big Joburg classic.”
He will be joined by Casper Kruger and Jaco van Dyk in the team and although they were a small contingent, Beneke said they always tried to “race hard and finish up there on the podium”.
The 947 organisers announced earlier this year that the 94.7km route would flip around this season. That means the “infamous” cluster of climbs will come at the beginning of the race and not at the end as in previous editions.
The 26-year-old said he expected this change to necessitate “a whole new game plan”.
“It will almost be a whole different race but that’s exciting because everyone wants to do well in this event which is the second biggest race in South Africa.
“It’s going to be a fun, serious and fast racing day.”
Beneke added that he was more hopeful than confident ahead of the race, especially after having battled with illness earlier this season.
“In the first half of the year my form was good, but in the second half I’ve had mistimed illness.
“I haven’t been super great, but I have still been up there so I’m not quite sure myself how the race will go. I’m definitely still hoping to do well.”
With the 947 course having a fair number of hills, Beneke expected this to suit teams with more riders.
“Whether it comes down to a bunch sprint or a select few guys, the teams with more members will be the biggest threat,” he said.
“BCX, ProTouch and officeguru racing all have eight riders each so it will come down to a big gamble and some tough racing against those teams.”