WorldTour rider Daryl Impey has been described by Brendon Davids as “arguably one of the best riders in the world” in comments ahead of the SA national road champs 162km road race in Pretoria on Sunday.
Davids, like Impey, will take part in the race without any team support due to both of them representing Australian outfits.
While admitting it was a challenge racing without team support, Davids recalled last year’s nationals where Impey defied the odds to claim his first national title.
Impey already managed to defend his individual time-trial crown today and Davids deemed it possible for him to defend his road race title as well.
“He’s going to be one of the isolated guys but he’s done it before and won the jersey,” Davids told In the Bunch today.
“He’s arguably one of the best riders in the world at the moment and he’s always going to be the man to watch,” he said, referring to the Pretoria showpiece this weekend.
“The nature of the course also lends itself to those guys racing as individuals. It’s going to be a hard race to control.”
“Ryan is riding on some really good form at the moment. We all saw how good he was at the Tour Down Under.
“The race will be up to DiData and everyone is going to have to take it to them. I think locally ProTouch will probably be the next [in line] to take up a chase if they aren’t happy with something.
“But at the end of the day I think it will be a big race of attrition between everyone really. I think it’s going be an absolutely brutal day out.”
The 26-year-old has not raced officially in SA since winning the Jock Tour in September 2017.
With hopes of making an impact back on home soil, Davids said he had devised a plan for the race on Sunday.
“I’ve got my own game plan and there are a couple of scenarios I’ve thought about and covered in my head. I’ve forged plans around those.
“But we’ll have to see what materialises on race day. You can almost guarantee that something will happen that you didn’t think would happen.
“You’ve got to think on your feet and I like to think I’m good at that during a race. The past season and a half racing internationally has helped a lot in terms of my depth of racing.”
Davids added that this would be his first competitive race of the season and that he had made a rather hasty decision to take part.
“I’ll be happy with my best race on the day and hopefully that means I walk away with a good result.”
The route, he said, offered something for every type of rider.
Riders will take on a 10km-lap circuit 16-and-a-half times. Each lap will include a short, punchy and challenging climb past the Union Buildings, which Davids said was sure to “wear the guys down lap after lap”.
The final lap will veer from that route and instead ascend the infamous Tom Jenkins climb, before a descent into the final drag for a sprint finish.
“Tom Jenkins will be an absolute dog-fight,” Davids predicted.