Primarily a mountain biker, Swiss ace Christoph Sauser is ready to make an impact when he competes in the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope cycling race from March 6 to 10.
The triple world marathon and five-time Cape Epic champion will compete in the country’s premier road tour for Investec-Songo-Specialized and is eager to reap the benefits of the 490km journey through the Cape Winelands.
There is, he said, much to appreciate about the Tour of Good Hope, which is presented by Scicon and the City of Drakenstein and sanctioned by Cycling South Africa.
“I love to race in the beautiful Western Cape and there is the speed effect when you ride with a bunch on fast wheels,” he said.
“Also, it is so well organised and I’m already looking forward to it.”
Sauser said the Bestmed Tour of Good Hope played an essential part in his preparations as it helped him to work on his speed.
“Nothing beats riding in a bunch at 40km/h at a high cadence. It is very good to have this stimulation which you would never get in training.”
The 40-year-old said that although they essentially a team of mountain bikers, they had riders who could climb and sprint as well.
“I’m not quite sure about the tactics, but we will have a lot of fire power.
“We will play it day by day, but it would be nice to win a stage or two again as we did last year with Sam Gaze.”
The latter won last year’s queen stage – mountain-top finish on Du Toitskloof Pass – before going on to win the U23 world cross country title in the Czech Republic.
Sauser said his personal goal was to do well on the same stage this year.
He will be supported by Gaze, Simon Andreassen, Konny Looser, Matt Beers, Craig Boyes and Paolo Montoya.
The 2000 Olympic cross-country bronze medallist, who is based in the small mountain town of Yvorne in Switzerland, announced his retirement from the sport last year.
However, he could not resist making a comeback when a request came from 2012 Olympic cross country champion Jaroslav Kulhavy to join him for this year’s Cape Epic.
“I needed some time to think, but the fire for the Cape Epic started to burn again,” he said.
“The challenge, the goal to win a sixth title and also the chance to raise awareness and inspire the kids of my charity – songo.info – brought me back again.”
His charity strive to improve the lives of children living in South African townships by providing them with a safe place to play, grow and develop.
Having won the Epic alongside Kulhavy in 2013 and 2015, Sauser said they would love to make it a third title. He however warned that many teams would be in contention, including that of his German rival Karl Platt, who is also gunning for a record sixth win.
Sauser, who has been training in South Africa for the past few weeks, showed his power by winning the Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge and National MTB Series opener in successive weeks.
“After the Tankwa Trek in February I’m going back to Switzerland for two weeks and will return in March for the Tour of Good Hope and a number of other races.”
More information at www.tourofgoodhope.co.za.