PE young guns part of strong lineup for Tour

TWO of Port Elizabeth's most promising young professional cyclists will be in action on home soil at The Herald VW Cycle Tour next weekend.

Mountain biker Marco Joubert and road rider Kellan Gouveris will both be gunning for glory when their respective races begin at Addo and Hobie Beach. Gouveris, 19, will be part of Team Abantu's seven-man lineup that includes former winners James Perry and Nolan Hoffman for the 106km Classic.

His squad will compete against the likes of Team Bonitas in South Africa's second oldest national classic. Now based in Randburg, Gouveris said he was looking forward to competing on a familiar course. "It's always good to get a win or a team win in your home town. So for me the victory would be much sweeter."

However, he said his route knowledge would not necessarily give his outfit the advantage.

"None of the teams know each other's level of strength at this point, so we'll just have to wait and see. The main section we have to watch out for will be the Maitlands climb, which is where a break will normally try to go as it's towards the end of the race."

A natural sprinter, Gouveris first caught the eye of team boss Dean Edwards at the 2011 UCI World Junior Track Championships in Moscow.

The following year, he signed with Tasol-GT as it was then known and made his professional debut on home turf in Port Elizabeth.

For 16-year-old Joubert, the cycling festival will be his next major goal race for Kargo Pro after competing in the African Continental Mountain Biking Championships this past weekend. The Linkside High pupil officially signed on this month with the young team, which is headed up by Sean Peschl and star rider Rourke Croeser.

"It puts me on a different level. It's a privilege to be part of the team and I'm looking forward to the future." Unfortunately, Cycling South Africa rules prevent the Grade 11 pupil from competing in the 80km Extreme but he will be eligible for the 60km Adventure on the Saturday. "I'm definitely going for the win – my job is to get the sponsors on the podium," Joubert said.

The Herald VW Cycle Tour organiser Linda Harwood reminded all pro teams that they must produce their professional racing licence at registration to be eligible for prize money.

Go to @heraldcycletour on Twitter or find the race on Facebook.