Esterhuizen said the six-day event, which comprised six disciplines on each day, was the ideal preparation for the feature race at the 121st annual Boxing Day meeting.
Both contests were held at the same venue, the Faure Street Stadium.
The 25-mile is largely an endurance showpiece. To cover the distance of just over 40km, cyclists must complete about 160 circuits of the track. And thanks to his preparation, Esterhuizen’s legs were up to the task.
“I wasn’t very explosive out the gate at the Boxing Day, but once my legs got going they were pretty good,” Esterhuizen told In the Bunch today.
“What I learnt from the six-day was my technique to ride on the Paarl track, which is very different to other tracks.
“I learnt how to ride in the wind; where I can save and where I can come back. Ultimately I learnt how to suffer.”
None of them, however, was able to finish on the podium.
Esterhuizen noted that the top four riders – himself, Rudi Kellerman, Graeme Ockhuis and Brandon Christians – all took part in the Paarl 6, which underlined the impact participating in the endurance event had on the race.
“I think the six-day really helped the endurance side of the race. Rudi, who came second, is a vet’s rider and he’s fast, but he wouldn’t usually be up there at the end.”
The 26-year-old said what also made the racing easier for him was “not really being marked” on the day.
“The main riders were sort of watching each other, which I felt was going to happen.
“I was a bit of a dark horse, an outsider. I attacked early in the race and no one really followed. That’s when I discovered I was not really being marked.
“The Belgian rider was sort of the main rival there for Nolan and they were kind of marking each other the whole race. Every time they attacked, they sat up, and then they attacked again and sat up again.
“They just followed each other the whole way,” he said, adding that this negatively affected their chances in the contest.
The Team Giant rider said winning the 25-mile was not his original goal, but he wanted to try to get into contention should it had come down to a sprint finish.
Although he relished the victory, Esterhuizen said it was not exactly what the local cycling supporters had wanted.
“When it comes to the Paarl Boxing Day, the local guys are always well supported.
“It’s almost like you don’t want to win because of the crowd. But it was very nice to win and for me it was more about the prestige of the race, especially if you look at the names on the list of past winners.
“To add my name to that list was quite a big deal.”