South African U23 champion Marc Pritzen is thriving in the team atmosphere of OfficeGuru Racing and will be looking to extend the outfit’s success in the Takealot Berge & Dale cycling race on Saturday.

One of the country’s most popular road classics, the 20th edition of the 108km event takes place on the West Rand, starting at the Silverstar Casino and finishing on the Krugersdorp hill.

The 19-year-old Pritzen achieved a major goal when he won the U23 race at the SA road championships in Pretoria this month and followed that with victory in the Ride for Sight event last weekend.

Although he broke away with 35km in the latter race to create a gap he never relinquished, Pritzen was quick to praise the team ethic of his outfit.

“The team has been awesome,” he said. “If you look at the mood within the OfficeGuru camp, it’s been great.

“Team owner Jamie Taylor has put in an enormous effort to make it a success and just to get a result for him makes it all worthwhile.”

He added they were motivated to continue that success in the West Rand classic.

“I think the team is in a good space and very positive. We are a young outfit, but we have a very good leader in Dylan Girdlestone to guide us in the right direction and all the members are hungry for a win.

“That gives us an extra 10 percent, which can be so important in a race.”

While Pritzen said he was not fully aware what to expect from the new Berge & Dale route or the opposition, he has done enough racing to know that nothing can be taken for granted.

“You can make so many plans for the team, but it’s all about what unfolds on the day,” he added.

“That’s what you have to deal with and, so far, we have been able to manage the racing on the day, which means things have worked out nicely for us.

“But we know that anyone can pull anything out on the day, so nobody can be discounted.”

From Kempton Park in Johannesburg, Pritzen said his success this year stemmed from an injury he suffered in the Race for Victory early in September last year.

“I crashed in that race and punctured my kidney, putting me out for about four weeks,” he said. “Then I got sick, so I was off the bike for about six weeks and that was basically it for 2018.

“When my coach and I looked at the route for the SA road champs between Heidelberg and Pretoria, we decided that would be the focus.

“So I built up last year to the SA champs in February and winning that was a dream come true. And I have been able to carry on with that good form.”

Late entries for the Takealot Berge & Dale will be administered at the relevant number collection venues.

Caption:Β Marc Pritzen and his team, OfficeGuru Racing, will be chasing further success when the Takealot Berge & Dale road cycle race over 108km takes place in Krugersdorp on the West Rand on Saturday. Photo: Henk Neuhoff