The 31-year-old professional followed his 2019 triumph in Johannesburg by capturing gold medals at the African Continental Track Championships in Egypt in February and the SA Omnium Track Cycling Championships in March.
He emphasised that even though this year had suffered severe disruptions, he was focused on retaining his title.
“I’m not in such great shape, but I am still looking forward to it and going for the title,” the Enza rider said. “The day I feel that I can’t contend for the top spot on the podium is the day I retire.
“Last year was a bit of a surprise win for me and I think a little more will be expected of me this time.
Maree said there were key tactical elements to omnium races and that he had changed his approach slightly over the years.
The Joburg Omnium includes scratch, tempo, elimination and points races.
“Initially I used to take each category as an individual race, but as I have done more track racing and omnium events, I have taken a page from Steven van Heerden‘s book and become a bit more strategic in my approach,” he said.
“Of course, you have to try to score well in all the races, but you also have to calculate your efforts. If you spend all your energy in one of the earlier events, then the points event, which is the longest race, becomes extremely tough.
“Even if you win the first three races, it doesn’t guarantee overall victory because the points race is where you can score the bulk of the points, so you have to be smart in your approach.”
Maree felt the Covid-19 lockdown would increase the intensity of the competition.
“The racing season has changed a bit and a lot of riders are not where they want to be, which could mean less entries than normal. Also some people are not too keen on travelling at this stage.
“A smaller field makes it harder because as an individual you have to work more during the races, so it can turn into a battle of attrition.
“Even though the races are relatively short, you will be surprised how long 25km feels when you are riding in a circle and your heart rate is going at 190 beats per minute.”