Former Springbok rugby captain John Smit, right, is looking forward to experiencing the Liberty TransCape MTB Encounter for the first time after having to pull out of last year’s event. With him is top South African mountain-biker Pieter Seyffert, a previous winner of the event. Photo: Daniel Coetzee ZCMC
Former Springbok rugby captain John Smit, right, is looking forward to experiencing the Liberty TransCape MTB Encounter for the first time after having to pull out of last year’s event. With him is top South African mountain-biker Pieter Seyffert, a previous winner of the event. Photo: Daniel Coetzee ZCMC

Former Bok captain John Smit set for TransCape Encounter

By Staff Writer Time of article published Jan 24, 2019

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Cape Town – Former Springbok rugby captain John Smit said he was excited to participate in next month’s Liberty TransCape MTB Encounter after unforeseen circumstances forced his withdrawal last year.

The seven-stage mountain-bike race starts in George and takes place from February 2-9 and will end at Holden Manz Wine Estate in Franschhoek.

The 591km journey is powered by Volvo and will take competitors through some of the most popular and scenic trails in South Africa.

Smit, who led the Springboks to the famous World Cup glory in 2007, was all set for last year’s event before unforeseen circumstances forced him to pull out.

“I am very happy to say I will be riding this year and can’t wait to see what the race and the journey hold for the week.

‘‘Everyone I have spoken to loves it, so I really can’t wait,” Smit said.

Smit, 40, will be riding with his good friend Shane Chorley, representing ASG.

“Shane is a proper cyclist, or should I say he was a proper cyclist until he partnered with me. But this should be one of the more memorable events we have done,” Smit said.

Having retired from rugby in 2011, Smit took up cycling in 2013 and said it had played a big role in his life.

“It has been one of the best transitional tools for me after my rugby career and joining the ‘real world’.

“It has kept me fit and I enjoy being on the trails in this beautiful country. It’s given me a balance between work and play that I think is critical in life.”

As a sportsman, Smit said it was hard to let go of his competitive instincts, but he offered a realistic assessment of his ability on the bike.

Asked if he could compete with some of his cycling rugby colleagues, such as flyhalf Joel Stransky, he was modest with his answer: “I might be a forward but I am not an idiot. Joel is not my target market.

“First, he is very serious about his training and, second, I don’t think he has eaten a carb in the last decade.

“Both those categories unfortunately rule me out of contending with him,” Smit said.

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