“I really cannot tell if I have fully recovered though until we have finished the first few stages,” said the 28-year-old, who was recently diagnosed with tick-bite fever after feeling ill at the Cape Epic last month.
Bester said he had always wanted to win the nine-day event, which ends in Scottburgh, and came close to doing so when he finished third overall alongside Declan Sidey last year.
“I feel we could’ve done better but he was really in bad pain during the last four days after losing his big toenail and that was all we could manage.
“I really want to better the result and win overall. It has been a big focus of my year’s planning and I want to give back to everyone who supports me and my Darkhorse Wheels Pro Cycling team.”
Bester will partner Andrew Hill for this year’s event.
“I think it will be an interesting race and I cannot wait to get going.
“The long multi-day stage races really suit me and I enjoy racing them. Every day gives you another opportunity to take back time or put more time into your opponents.”
He felt that motivation for long events was critical as one went through ups and downs from day to day.
“The team have a great ethos and we can rely on each other to motivate and drive the other when needed.
“There is a lot of experience between us and both Andrew and I have raced a lot. We know that a stage race can’t be won on day one, so to keep the long-term motivation will be critical.”
Hill added that team work and knowing the limitations and strengths of your teammate was the fundamental principle of any team sport.
“It’s even more so in mountain-bike stage races. We will use this as we head towards the coast.”
Hill felt their year had been successful and they had achieved some great results leading up to the Epic, which was a big goal of theirs.
“Epic wasn’t as good as we’d hoped due to us finding out, after a series of blood tests, that Shaun-Nick was fighting tick-bite fever during the race.
“I feel that his amazing will to fight and continue shows his ability to push his body even when he didn’t have the energy to do so. The team is really lucky to have a rider of his calibre.”
He added that their aim for joBerg2c, which totals 900km, was to try and ride for the overall placing and to avoid any unnecessary energy expenditure, injury or illnesses.
“We’ve definitely tried to make our season-build slightly longer in an effort to target the nine-day race.
“Shaun-Nick and I worked hard in the planning phase of the year and looked at the specifics of the race along with the stages to see where we can improve. A long event like this is all about planning and preparation.”
Bester added that he was motivated for the rest of the season and keen to see how it would unfold.