Riding as Specialized Foundation-NAD, Beers and Hatherly are well-known friends off the bike and are set to play a supporting role for Investec-songo-Specialized’s Sam Gaze and Jaroslav Kulhavy at the eight-day race.
Kulhavy is the reigning champ, so he and Gaze will certainly be targeting the overall spoils.
But, as a back-up team, Hatherly did not shy away from revealing that they would need to be among the favourites if they were to achieve their goals.
“To be a good support team we need to be right up there with the leaders,” the under-23 world champion said at the pre-race press conference at the Tsogo Sun Hotel today.
“Hopefully that will be good enough to win us the red jerseys.”
Beers had not played down the challenge that awaits them in the gruelling race by any means, saying “everyone must just relax” when asked if he and Hatherly would be targeting the overall victory.
“It’s a hard race. We’ll focus on the red jersey first and then take it from there.
“We’re riding as a support team for Jaroslav and Sam.”
Gaze was full of praise for Kulhavy’s power, while the latter lauded his partner’s speed.
“I’ve seen the damage Jaroslav has done in the past so I’m scared but also excited,” the Cape Town Cycle Tour winner said.
“Sam has the same body type as me so we can work together really well. Hopefully it can be a good Cape Epic for us. We have a bigger chance for the sprints – Sam is super-fast,” Kulhavy added.
Swissman Lars Forster is set to partner multiple world cross-country champ Nino Schurter for the Epic under the banner of SCOTT-SRAM, while fellow compatriot Andri Frischknecht is set to pair up with SA marathon champ Gert Heyns as their back-up team.
The team are taking special precautions ahead of this season’s event, which explained why Frischknecht made a positional switch with Forster, with the former originally supposed to race with Schurter.
“Andri had a stomach bug during our training camp. We need to have the strongest possible team so we decided it is best for Lars and I to race together,” Schurter said.
Meanwhile, Frischknecht jokingly said they’re willing to go to war at the Epic.
“I want to go to war with a sharp knife. Not a little one,” he said. “I think we can be the perfect back up team.”
The Epic kicks off with a 21km prologue on the slopes of Table Mountain on Sunday.