A ferocious battle is set to be battled out on the roads tomorrow morning as the eagerly anticipated Daily Dispatch Cycle Tour takes centre-stage from Buffs Club.
One of the most impressive fields in recent years will be out in force and gunning for the title in the 102km main event.
Three massive teams have come down to take part in the race, with the Giants team from Cape Town, the BCX team from Johannesburg and the Bestmed NMU team from Port Elizabeth bringing down a host of exciting cyclists.
Born and bred East Londoner Reynard Butler will be back in town, taking part in his home race for the first time in seven years and he will be gunning to reclaim his former crown.
“East London is where I grew up, so coming back to do the race after a couple of years is like going home and this is where all my cycling started and it will be great to be back at the race again,” said Butler.
“I always try my best when I race and you always go in trying to win it, but I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I will be going for the win on Sunday,” he said.
Butler is racing for the BCX team and with only himself and one other rider, Wesley Eslick, from the team taking part they could find the going tough and will have to work hard and stick together if they want to emerge victorious.
“We don’t have the whole team here. It will just be myself and Wesley, but he is a power rider and I am in good hands with him,” said Butler.
“The guys who are coming down for the race are really good and it is going to be a tough field, so our plan will be to make it as difficult as possible upfront and whittle down the groups to make it easier at the end.”
Defending Daily Dispatch Cycle tour champ, Bradley Gouveris, will be back and he will be aiming to retain the title he picked up for the first time last year.
Gouveris won riding for the NMU team, but this year will be in the colours of this Giants team, which should spice things up a bit.
“I am very excited for this weekend.
“Last year was a really good race for me and with it being an Eastern Cape race it is always going to be a special race for me,” said Gouveris.
“I love riding for the Giants team, but I was a part of the NMU team for a number of years so it will be a bit strange racing against them, but I am looking forward to it.”
He will be racing with a very strong team, including two fantastic sprinters in Bernard Esterhuizen and Evan Carstens, and should this come down to a bunch sprint at the end of the race will be set for a thrilling conclusion.
“We are coming down to the race to win. The guys are on form at the moment. We are a very committed and dedicated team, so we have our strategies in place and we must just deliver on the day,” said Gouveris.
“But my goal is to defend my title and we will just have to see how everything goes on the day.”
On the local front, Jason Reed has been a podium placer on a number of occasions before and he should also be in the mix during the race.
Grahamstown rider Jason Meaton will also hope to be among the challengers. Although he is known more for his exploits on the mountain, finishing runner-up in the Dispatch Mountain Bike race, he will be looking to impress on the road this time out.
The main race will get under way at 7am, with the 50km and 19km rides setting off shortly after.
All cyclists must be at the start line 30 minutes before the start for race briefing.