Johannesburg – Veteran cyclist Robbie Hunter hopes to compete at the highest level for at least four more years, after another successful season on the road in 2012.
Hunter won the national road title in Nelspruit in March, beating Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg in a sprint finish, and formed part of the Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda team that won the time trial at the Giro d'Italia in May, becoming the first South African rider to win stages in all three of the major international tours.
He also won the 11th stage of the 2007 Tour de France, the second stage of the 1999 Vuelta a Espana, and the 17th stage of the same race two years later.
“I have a true passion for cycling. I really enjoy being a professional cyclist,” Hunter said.
“At the moment I cannot see myself doing anything else.”
In a career spanning 15 years, the 35-year-old won the overall title at the Tour of Qatar and the sprint classification at the Tour de Suisse, both achieved in 2004.
While his main role was to ensure his American teammate, Tyler Farrar, was in a favourable position to contest sprint finishes, Hunter’s own hunger had not abated at all.
“I am sure that there will be one or two opportunities for me to race to win and, when they come along, I will certainly try to make the most of them,” he said.
“Next season will be interesting. Tyler and I have been working together for a few years and we are beginning to understand each other well and to know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.
“Obviously, if I manage to do things correctly, Tyler will be closer to the line and also closer to winning.”
Hunter confirmed he would start the new season by participating in Australia’s Tour Down Under in January. – Sapa