John-Lee Augustyn (MTN-Qhubeka) will make his return to racing next Monday, after being sidelined since 2012.
Augustyn will race the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon and, despite a small setback, he is confident that he will be fully prepared for the race.
“My training has been going really well, I’ve been feeling good on the bike as well,” said Augustyn. “I just have a bit of bad luck now with a cold that’s going around, so for the last few days I’ve been cutting the training load to try and get healthy again but I will definitely be ready for the race.”
The South African has been in and out of racing action since he damaged the head of his femur in an accident at the Tour of Portugal, in 2007. He had corrective surgery in 2011, but left his contract with Utensilnord-Named the following season, after only one race, on medical advice.
He now believes that the hip troubles are behind him and, last October, the MTN-Qhubeka team announced they had signed the 27-year-old. His experience may come in handy, as the Pro Continental team look to ride their first Grand Tour.
Augustyn has done some racing at the Crater Cruise and Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike events last year, but says the first few months are all about settling into racing life once again. “"My early season goals are to get back and feel comfortable in the peloton again,” he said.
“I will then take it from there on, maybe I feel good and surprise myself. We will also know in these couple of days if we get into the Giro d’Italia. Right now there's nothing with too much of a high expectation on my shoulders but I will definitely give my absolute best to make the team."
Augustyn is also set to ride at the Tour de Langkawi and the Giro del Trentino later this year.