Fresh from his triumph in the Knysna Cycle Tour, RoadCover’s Brendon Davids is ready to test himself again when he makes his debut appearance in the Bestmed Jock Classic on Saturday.
Presented by Rudy Project, the one-day, three-stage race in Mbombela in Mpumalanga will be contested over 150km with 2 900m of vertical ascent.
Although he has not experienced the concept of a three-stage race in a single day, Davids is excited about the event and is looking forward to another examination of his road credentials.
The 23-year-old from Fourways in Johannesburg has made a successful switch from mountain bike trails to the tar, winning the 947 Challenge last year and finishing second in the Mpumalanga Cycle Tour in January.
“I’m doing most of the road events for the first time and, although I have not ridden the Jock Classic, I know quite a bit about the region from the Mpumalanga Tour,” said the former junior, U23 and elite African continental mountain bike champion.
“I have really just been focused on the past weekend and only now am I looking ahead to the next event.”
From discussions with his team-mates, Davids said he realised the second stage could be influential in the final outcome.
The 45km stretch between White River and Sabie has a fairly flat start before the climb up Spitskop, which is followed by a 10km run-in to Sabie.
“Most of my colleagues have done the Jock Classic and they all say the Spitskop section into Sabie can make or break the race,” he said.
“I know there is also the Long Tom Pass (over 12km) on the final leg, but that is quite far from the finish, so the push up Spitskop should play a big role.
“It will probably be important to try to establish a gap there as it is the most challenging part of the route, and then try to consolidate on the final stage back into Nelspruit.”
Although he said RoadCover would be represented by a fairly small team in the Bestmed Jock Classic, Davids was happy with their conditioning.
“It’s important to have a good team behind you and we are all riding well together and committed to the cause.
“We haven’t really strategized a lot at this stage and although we will have a plan, we often improvise on the road.”
Davids acknowledged one of the challenges would be to keep warm between the stages, which start at 6.30am (42km), 9.30am (45km) and 1pm (63km).
“I have never experienced this sort of race before but Brad (Potgieter) and Clint (Hendricks) have done it and have given me some pointers,” he said.
“I’m sure I will be spending some time on the rollers between stages so you don’t switch off completely and stay well prepared for the next stage.”
This year the Jock Classic, regarded as the country’s toughest one-day road race, will be held separately from the three-day Bestmed Jock Tour, which now takes place in mid-September.