“I’d really like to be able to pull on the striped jersey this year. It’s definitely a goal for me and the NTT Pro Cycling team,” said Gibbons.
“It’s a dream of any rider to win the champs and wear the national jersey for the season. It would definitely give me a boost in every race I take part in thereafter, as well as give me more of an identity in the pro peloton.”
The 25-year-old said the races he had competed in this season had all helped prepare him for the SA champs.
“I have taken part in good races at the highest level of the sport. I definitely couldn’t ask for much better preparation.
“I have another year of racing in the legs and experiences under the belt, as well as being a season older. Hopefully these natural occurrences will just be added positives to my performance.”
Gibbons said he was not happy with his achievements at last week’s Tour Down Under in Australia, where he finished 26th overall. However, he said he hoped to be back at the top of his game for the nationals.
“I crashed hard in the last kilometre in stage two [of the Tour Down Under] and that not only affected my chance of a result in that stage, but every stage thereafter. I went in with really good form and high hopes, so it was personally very upsetting.
“I did, however, play a role in setting up our stage-five win with [Giacomo] Nizzolo, so that was at least some consolation after an otherwise disappointing week.
“Hopefully I’ll be back to 100 percent come the nationals. I just don’t want to have a mechanical [problem] as I did last year when I spent 20km chasing with a bike two sizes too small.”
He said the route for the event, which takes place at Swadini Forever Resort, might be tougher than many expected.
“The route is pretty undulating but ultimately a flat route. However the surface is rough and quite draining.”
Once the SA champs are over Gibbons will head back to Europe where he will focus on the Paris-Nice and Volta a Catalunya.
He will also target some of the classics, the Critérium du Dauphiné and then the Tour de France.