One of the country’s most promising riders, Marc Pritzen, has emerged from the lockdown’s enforced indoor training period in top shape and was hoping that racing would resume soon so that he could show off his form.
Now in his first season with the NTT Continental squad, he is based at the team’s European headquarters in Lucca, Italy, where they were in self-isolation from March 11 to May 5.
“We don’t have restrictions for riding outside, but at the moment we have to ride alone. Next week we can start riding in groups, which will make our five to six-hour endurance rides a lot more fun.
“I don’t think it will influence our training too much, because we’re all different types of riders and we almost never have the same intervals,” said the 20-year-old who enjoyed a breakthrough season last year with victories at the Tour of Good Hope, Tour de Windhoek, Ride for Sight, 947 Ride Joburg and the U23 national champs.
“Our coach did say he was going to try make our endurance rides on the same day though.”
He added that, in comparison to South Africa’s three-hour outdoor exercise window, they were fortunate to be able to train outside anytime and for as long as they wanted to.
“We aren’t allowed to ride outside of our region, but Tuscany is really big so that isn’t a problem.”
Pritzen, who lived in Johannesburg before heading to Europe, said he managed to get quality training done while indoors.
“I spent hundreds of hours in the Pain Cave training studio in South Africa the last couple of years, so I definitely have an advantage in being used to the indoor trainer.
“It’s difficult to say how much I’ve benefited from it, because I’ve only been out on the road for a week and I’m still trying to figure that out myself, but I do feel very good.
“What I can say is that the Zwift races were so hard, I think I got better at hurting myself on the bike!”
Pritzen, whose last victory on home soil was at the 947 Ride Joburg at the end of last year, said he had been motivated during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We don’t really know when racing will start, so I feel that this is the perfect time to target some of my weaknesses.
“I want to be in the best shape possible when the season starts again.
“We also don’t know how many races there will be, so we’re going to have to make every opportunity count, regardless of how small the race is.”