Smit, who will be riding for the Swiss-based Katusha-Alpecin WorldTour outfit for the second year in a row this season, decided it was a good opportunity to take part in the tour as he was “already in the area”.
“It will be a good training block to do. It will be seven days where I won’t have to ride or train by myself,” Smit told In the Bunch today.
“I started training very late so I just want to ride myself into some good form, enjoy the tour and my time with the other South Africans because I won’t be seeing them for a whole year again.”
The 26-year-old has not raced in SA since the end of 2017.
“I’m very grateful that Katusha allowed me to participate in the Mpumalanga Tour because it’s not really beneficial to them,” Smit said.
“But it will be nice to show the WorldTour jersey off here on the domestic scene.”
Smit said he would commence his second training camp with the team in Mallorca, Spain, three days after the tour. The camp would last 10 days, with the team starting their racing season at the beginning of February.
“As a WorldTour rider I won’t be able to ride as a guest rider for any other team [at the Mpumalanga Tour].
“I will be racing on my own. I will have no teammates, unfortunately – they’re all in Europe,” he quipped.