Saturday, 2 May 2010, will be a very important date for Christoff van Heerden, MTN-Energade’s South African Road Champion.
It is not often that a rider finds himself in a position to win one of South Africa’s big one-day Classics three times in succession. Van Heerden is, as far as the Tour Durban is concerned, on the brink of making South African cycling history. He has won the Tour Durban in 2008 and 2009 and consequently needs only one more victory to complete his hat trick.
“I really would love to make it three in a row, but it is not going to be easy. My best chance to win would be if my team-mates and I could control the race right to the end and then manage to set up a bunch sprint. If that does not happen, I will have to be wide awake.”
Van Heerden is concerned about the way the Medscheme riders have been dominating the local races.
The last race it was Johann Rabie who won the Wilro 100 race in which Malcolm Lange outsprinted Van Heerden to finish 2nd.
“What is worrying is the way in which Medscheme time and again manages to have the most riders in every breakaway that counts. On Sunday the race split after about 40km, up the short side of Hekpoort, and a group of 16 riders was formed.
“Kevin Evans, Jaco Venter and I were the only MTN-Energade riders in the breakaway, while five of Medscheme’s riders managed to tag along. This is what has happened in most of the races this season.
“If we manage to get two riders away, there will be three riders from Medscheme. If we have four in a break, they will have five. They always seem to be able to outnumber us. It certainly counts in their favour that they are all very experienced riders who can read a race well and are not scared to launch attacks.
“This is really something that we will have to address, otherwise it will be a very long and frustrating season for us.”