South African fans don’t have to sweat it out this year while awaiting news on whether a South African will ride in the world’s greatest bicycle race. It was confirmed today by Robert Hunter that he is in the Phonak starting line-up for the Tour de France.

Barring serious injury Hunter will ride in the Tour. “The team management requested from me this weekend to make room for the Tour in my programme this year,” Hunter said, speaking from his home in Como, Italy.

The South African ace missed out on the Tour last year as part of the Rabobank when he decided to rather concentrate on the Olympic Games. It was a decision that didn’t pay dividends when he fell ill in the week leading up to the Games.

Hunter has had a solid start to the season, winning the single day event leading up to the Tour of Qatar and also bagging the final stage of the Tour of the Mediterainean.

While the Tour de France will be indelibly etched into his memorybank as a mid-season goal, his immediate focus lies with Paris-Nice, which constitues the start of the Pro Tour, as well as the Spring Classics, which kick off with Milan San Remo.