Pros on ultimate quest in PE

    Pro riders Charles Keey, James Reid and Candice Neethling having some fun ahead of the 2013 The Herald VW Cycle Tour: Photo Coetzee Gouws/Fullstop

    Top South African riders Charles Keey (Cannondale-Blend), James Reid (Trek) and Candice Neethling (BMC-SA) have been fine-tuning their preparation in Nelson Mandela Bay ahead of The Herald VW Cycle Tour this weekend.

    The three are just some of the elite cyclists who will be competing for the Ultimate Quest title – a new super-category for those who do both the 80km Extreme mountain bike challenge in Addo on Saturday and 106km Classic road race in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

    Keey, who managed his first ultra-marathon podium finish at the MTN national marathon series race in Barberton last weekend, said he felt in good form for the double-header.

    His new team-mate Darren Lill also appears to be on song, after mechanical issues cost him his lead in the MTN race.

    “I think the team definitely has as good a shot as any. It’s exciting to have a new competition that recognises both disciplines.”

    Although Keey and Lill would approach the mountain bike race with the sole intention of winning, the 26-year-old said the road would require a different strategy.

    “There might be some tactics involved, as there is now essentially a race within a race. Luckily, I have Darren, who’s a former national road champion, so we have some cards to play.”

    Cape Town-based Keey said they had already tested the new mountain bike course and were looking forward to the weekend.

    “It’s a really tough 80 kilometres. It’s technical, rough and I’m sure it’s going to be hot!”

    Neethling, who won the Barberton race last weekend, will face off against third-placed Brit Catherine Williamson (bizhub-FCF) for Ultimate Quest glory.

    Out-of-town riders and VIPs will be hosted by official accommodation sponsors Town Lodge in PE and the Zuurberg Mountain Village at Addo.