|Competing as a solo rider, Dimension Data’s Kent Main will be relying on his strength on the hills to make an impact when the Bestmed Satellite Championship takes place next weekend.
Offering routes of 110km, 84km and 60km, the road classic will take place from Maropeng on October 14.
With his teammates not yet back from competing in Europe, Main said he would be the outfit’s only rider in the race, but felt the nature of the route would help him to be competitive.
“I do think it is a bit easier for a solo rider in this race, rather than a flat route where a team is essential,” said Main, who won the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope in March and placed fourth overall in the Jock Tour last month.
“It’s definitely important to have the support of a team, but on a route like this, which has a big climb up Hekpoort at about 95km, it will allow me to really put in a good move.”
The 21-year-old from Linden in Johannesburg showed his ability on the climbs in the Tour of Good Hope when he won the third stage on top of Du Toitskloof Pass and he was confident that he could create a bit of pressure on Hekpoort.
“Climbing is one of my strengths and that’s where I can put some damage on the bunch,” said Main.
“Obviously the race can split up before that, especially if there is a bit of wind. But even if the gap is up to a minute and a half, it’s a hard enough climb to whittle that down and get back to square one.”
“Willie Smit rode away up Hekpoort last year and stayed away until the end, so it is possible.”
The Dimension Data rider said the Bestmed Satellite Championship was an important part of his programme as he continued to work hard with an eye on competing in the Tour of Rwanda next month.
“That’s a seven-day tour so I’m training with that in mind, but the team selections have not been made yet.
“If I don’t go there, it will be the 947 Cycle Challenge, so the Satellite is an important event to build up that race power that you don’t quite get in training.”
He said he also enjoyed the challenge of the race as it offered a route not often seen in the country’s major road classics.
“There are not many big races with such a significant climb. This route gives a different type of rider a chance to win.”
Main said the competition would be tough and his aim was to be in the mix at the end.
“Lots of guys use this race to see where their form is and teams like ProTouch, RoadCover and BCX are sure to be there, so the competition will be strong.”