Himeville – As the elite athletes start shifting their focus to the upcoming KAP sani2c Johann Rabie and Hendrik Kruger will join forces to take on some of the best MTB single track in the country over the three-day event with eyes on claiming the illustrious title in their first sani2c together when the race finishes in Scottburgh on Saturday, 14 May.
The Team Telkom duo had a disappointing ABSA Cape Epic with Kruger having to withdraw through illness however the pair has a busy racing schedule coming up and want to put their Epic frustration behind them and focus on the races that are coming up.
“Epic wasn’t great for us with Hendrik having a stomach bug,” Rabie mentioned. “sani2 was always on our radar along with joberg2c – which comes up before sani – so we have a lot of racing to do in the near future which is exciting.
The KAP sani2c has not been the happiest of races for Rabie who has finished as the runner-up in the previous two editions of the race, with Swiss ace Konny Looser in 2015 and Gawie Combrinck in 2014 so there is very little encouragement needed for Rabie in 2016.
“Last year I think we were a bit unlucky with Konny being tired from his travels which meant that we had a poor first day but besides from that we were really strong and if it wasn’t for that I think we were in with a good chance of winning the race.
“The two second place finishes means that I am really hoping to go one better this year but we are not putting any pressure on ourselves going into the race – we want to have a solid three days of racing,” Rabie added.
Rabie’s fortunes in the longer Old Mutual joberg2c have been more positive having won the previous two editions of the race with Gawie Combrink. As the joberg2c takes preferential treatment at this stage Rabie understands the benefits of the longer stage race in the build up to the KAP sani2c.
“The joberg2c always gives us a good base to work from going forward into the sani2c and with the longer nine stage race you are able to get yourself into some good form during the race.
“It is just a bonus that we use some of the same tracks for both races which does give you a better indication of what to expect and how to handle the course,
“We just want to try and stay out of trouble throughout the race. If wan manage that then I think that we should have a good chance despite there being some serious competition for the top honours,” a circumspect Rabie explained.
The Rabie and Kruger combination might be in its infancy however both are aware of their strengths and how they can take on the defending champion pair of Darren Lill and Waylon Woolcock. Rabie feels that their build up to the race will be very similar to 2015.
“I love stage racing and have been doing it for a few years now so I understand the best ways to prepare for a race and I don’t think I am going to do anything different this year to last year.
“Hendrik is a strong rider and I am looking forward to taking on the challenge with him,” commented Rabie.