Johannesburg - Olympian Philip Buys hopes his performance at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Pietermaritzburg in August will do justice to the late Burry Stander.
"Burry did so much for this sport in South Africa," Buys said.
"He set the standard and proved that as a South African you have no excuses not to beat the best in the world.
"With Burry's passing the responsibility shifts to us to uphold his standards, and to go further and to take his achievements and go beyond that. That is a huge and positive motivation for me now."
The 24-year-old Buys heads to Spain for the fourth World Cup event next week, looking to fine tune his form before flying home to prepare for the world championships at a training camp in Cape Town.
He will then head to Pietermaritzburg a week before the event.
Buys, who recently won the Cycling South Africa national MTB series title, said the world championships was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"I will never get a chance to compete in a World Cross Country Champs on home soil [again], and racing on a track that I know well, so I want to take full advantage of this opportunity," said Buys.
"Every track is difficult in it's own way, but the Cascades track seems to suit my style.
"I race it at every opportunity, and the more you race it the more comfortable you feel on it."
Since the London Olympic Games, Buys has steadily climbed the UCI rankings, and now finds himself around 20th in the world, bringing with it preferential seeding at major international races.
"When you start at the front everyone seems kind of shaky, while when you are seeded 70th and some way back, you have five seconds or so before you even cross the startline," he said.
Illness hampered his recent World Cup campaign, but he managed a podium in one of the Eliminator races which has helped focus his training and preparations for the world championships.
"I've got the power -- I know that and the Eliminator proves that -- now I am working on my fitness," Buys said.
"Since the Cape Epic, I have been focusing more on training and recovery and actually racing less."
With a top-20 seeding, Buys is looking to finish the world championships with a top-14 or top-10 result.
He will also use his Olympic experience to help absorb the high-pressure situations in the future.
"As big as the Olympics were for me, I learnt a lot from that experience," he said.
"I attach the same level of importance to these World Champs, and I know a lot more about what I have to do to perform at that level now.
"For me representing my country is a huge honour."
Buys has prioritised the world championships, which start on August 26, and hopes to take full advantage of racing in front of his hometown supporters.
"Travelling is always difficult as your fitness levels drop and you can get sick travelling. So having this event at home is such a great opportunity.