Himeville - Following a unique turn of events that led to Matthys Beukes and Julian Jessop winning the African jersey at the Absa Cape Epic through the withdrawal of Philip Buys, and the Beukes/Jessop pairing will be reunited for the 2018 KAP sani2c as they try to defend their team's crown from 11-13 May.
Beukes' record at the three day stage race from the foothills of the Drakensberg to KwaZulu-Natal's South Coast is impeccable and should he and Jessop win the title this year that would be a hat-trick of wins for the Western Cape based rider.
Beukes won the race in 2016 with Gert Heyns and then won a weather-interrupted showdown in 2017 and with the form he is showing in 2018, the 30 year-old and his young partner Jessop will be tough to beat again.
"I have taken a bit of a break after the Epic but I am starting to get back into training and slowly getting myself back into it.
"The shape is still there from such a long build-up to Epic so I am still feeling good and looking forward to the next part of the season," Beukes mentioned.
Going into the recent Absa Cape Epic, PYGA Euro Steel's pair of Buys and Beukes were touted to take home the red African jersey and potentially claim an overall podium, however their plans were dashed with Buys took ill on the cusp of the event.
Some quick decisions had to be made and young Julian Jessop stepped up with aplomb as the pair rode to victory in the continental jersey showdown.
"We got thrown quite a massive curve ball right before the start but we made the best out of the situation and it was brilliant to see a guy like Julian racing well."
Beukeus and Buys were lining up their Old Mutual joBerg2c assault together, however Beukes will ride the race as a solo rider and then shift his focus to the shorter KAP sani2c this month.
"Last year we managed to do the double and win both the joBerg2c and the sani2c so if as a team we can do that again, that would be awesome!
"We are going all out at both joBerg2c and the sani2c this year, but for me there is a bigger end goal in mind.
"The World Marathon Championships take place in Italy later in the year so sani2c and joBerg2c are both races that will help me in my preparation for the South African marathon championships," Beukes added.
2017's sani2c was one for the archives with weather playing a significant role in that the second and Queen Stage of the race had to be cancelled due to the wet and muddy conditions. This might not have influenced the final result but the defending champions are looking forward to racing down into the Umkomaas Valley this year.
"The Umko Drop is a special part of the sani2c and to not be able to do it last year was hugely unfortunate but we are excited about the prospect of doing it this year.
"The ride down into the valley and the tough climb out is always a critical part of the race so we will be have to make sure we are on top of our game," Beukes stressed.
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