One of South Africa’s most experienced cyclists, Waylon Woolcock, has set his sights on overall victory in the three-day PwC Great Zuurberg Trek mountain bike race next month.
The Stellenbosch professional, who won last weekend’s Liberty Winelands Encounter alongside BCX teammate HB Kruger, said he was excited about targeting the Eastern Cape race based at the Zuurberg Mountain Village for the first time from May 26.
“The Eastern Cape is one of the areas where I have not mountain biked a lot, although I’m reasonably familiar with the type of terrain,” the 34-year-old said in reference to the route that takes in portions of the Addo Elephant National Park.
“I have ridden a lot in the Karoo near Oudtshoorn so I have experienced the types of trails we will face.”
Woolcock said he competed in a host of events around the country and was used to adapting to different conditions and terrain and that Zuurberg, just outside Port Elizabeth, would be no different.
Although he said he and Kruger would aim for the top spot on the podium, he acknowledged there would be plenty of competition.
“It is always a goal to win an event we enter, but you are definitely seeing more professional teams competing in these types of races.
“As a professional doing it for a living we have to try to give back to our sponsors so the greater the exposure we get, the better it is for everyone.
“We choose events which suit us and our sponsors, and I think the GZT will be a really good one.”
Although Woolcock and Kruger swept aside their competition at the Winelands Encounter, he acknowledged one could never be sure of the outcome in mountain bike racing.
“I think the GZT will be a really interesting test because there are a couple of good teams in the mix.”
He said one never knew who might end up on the start list, but felt defending champion Andrew Hill and new teammate Marco Joubert (TIB Insurance-Momsen), as well as TransCape champions Pieter Seyffert and Travis Walker (ASG-Ellsworth), would be two of the teams to watch.
Woolcock praised the efforts of the organisers in supporting a professional field.
“They have definitely helped to draw us to the event and have made it as attractive as possible.
“I’m looking forward to a great race in a lovely part of the country and we are grateful for the backing the organisers have provided.”