Ryan Gibbons will spearhead Dimension Data in the SA national road champs 162km road race in Pretoria on Sunday.
Gibbons had a relatively successful Tour Down Under last month, having racked up a few top-10 results and finished 11th overall. He also finished fourth in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race the following week.
After displaying much prowess among other WorldTour riders in Australia, Gibbons and the team have prioritised the national jersey this season.
The 24-year-old’s chances were hampered in last year’s edition when he was involved in a major crash during the race and he will hope to set things straight this time round.
“The national champs are an important objective for our team,” Gibbons said. “It’s the only time we get to race in our home country during the season and it’s also when all our local partners, friends and family get the opportunity to come see us in action.
“Naturally, the pressure is on us, but I like to think I thrive under pressure.”
Gibbons said while the national jersey will be a big goal for him, all seven riders are capable of clinching the title.
“It will take a massive team effort to ensure the jersey comes back with either one of us – that is our first priority.”