Johannesburg — Cyclist Travis Barrett is aiming for a second Berge & Dale title when the 22nd edition takes place on February 26 at Protearif Primary, Krugersdorp.
The 2020 Cape Town Cycle Tour winner said it was a goal to win the race again.
Barrett said: ”Another title is my objective, especially coming in as the defending champ.
"Any result and race win is important for me, especially as a young rider, so a second title really would help me gain recognition as one of the better riders in South Africa.”
The 22-year-old added that mentally he was excited and ready for the season ahead, but physically he was not in his best shape yet.
"Although, after a promising ride at Gauteng Champs recently and with a few weeks still to go before Berge & Dale, I think I’ll have some good form on race day.”
After having had to cancel last year's event due to Covid-19, organisers Slipstream Events will welcome riders back to the iconic West Rand event, which is renowned for its challenging and hilly route - and in particular the sting in the tail climb to the finish.
"I'm excited for the return of Berge & Dale this year," said Barrett.
"The last two years have been filled with so much uncertainty regarding road races in SA, so it's good to see the calendar getting fuller.”
The Team Honeycomb Pro Cycling rider said Berge & Dale was always one that he enjoyed and looked forward to.
"It's never a completely flat route. I usually perform better in hilly races, especially since I’m one of the smaller riders in the bunch.
"The route is always challenging, and quite different to many other local races which always makes it exciting.”
Barrett, who is the current Under-23 African Continental Road champion, said it was always difficult to have a race strategy this far in advance.
"But, knowing my strengths as a rider, as well as having a very strong team this year makes it possible to take advantage of various race scenarios to ensure the best result possible.”
Some of his other main goals for the first half of the season are to achieve a good result at the National Road Champs, followed by Tour Du Cap, which is a stage race he knows he can get good results in.
"And of course, to win another edition of the Cape Town Cycle Tour!”
Following the 109km - which is an official seeding event for Ride Joburg - and 60km road races on Saturday, the event will also introduce a mountain bike event with distances of 45km and 20km at Kings Kloof.