Renowned South African cyclist Bradley Potgieter has a renewed eagerness to perform following a tumultuous start to the season which culminated in him recently joining Cycle Power.
Potgieter moved from Vandergroup, where he played a leadership role last season.
As a result the team were forced to release most of their top riders to pursue other opportunities, with Potgieter among them.
“I’m excited now knowing that I can clearly see the year moving forward. There’s a new fire burning within me,” Potgieter told In the Bunch today.
“I’m a little more motivated now, realising that there is more certainty about what’s going on.
“The team has a good energy surrounding them.”
Potgieter said he and John Vlok, Cycle Power’s manager and rider, went back a long way to when Vlok used to ride for the under-23 Hollards Academy.
The academy was a feeder system for RoadCover, the team Potgieter rode for at the time.
He said when Vlok joined the academy he helped him out in terms of racing and providing experience.
“I think that made an impact [on him],” Potgieter said. “I think when you do good things, good things can be returned and that’s how I’ve ended up here now.
“When he heard what was happening at Vandergroup he got in touch with me and we just chatted from there. Luckily they were good enough to take me on board.”
The 29-year-old expects to play a similar role to what he did last year as team leader.
“Having been captain at other teams and representing South Africa a few times I think I will take on a leadership role [again].
“They’re a very keen and younger team, but still with some experience [needed]. I will just try to direct the guys and help as much as I can.”
He added however that the team’s objective was not to channel all their focus onto one rider but rather to “spread the load throughout the races and give everyone an opportunity”.
Potgieter guest-rode for the team at the Tour of Good Hope last year and said he became well acquainted with the other riders.
The Pietermaritzburg local is set to give the SA national road champs a miss this week due to his training and preparations having been hampered by the setbacks and uncertainties at his former team.
“That placed quite a lot of stress on my shoulders,” he said, adding that he would rather focus on the Ride for Sight on February 17, his first official race with his new team.