By Mark Etheridge
Almost under the radar in the Mother City last weekend was the fact that London Paralympian Ernst van Dyk notched up his eighth Pick n Pay Argus cycle tour victory.
Van Dyk has now won the hand-cycle category on eight of the occasions he’s entered the Cape classic and the race was all part of his build-up to the Boston and London Marathons next month.
“It went OK,” reflected Van Dyk this week although he still has some misgivings over the race formula. “We used to be one of the first groups to start when the hand-cycle field was rather small.
“We used to start right after the racing tandems which meant that we had clear roads ahead of us and some really fast groups to hook onto and get a decent draft for a while.
“My course record of 3hr 15min when we started there still stands. But as the hand-cycle field grew ÔÇô we are now up to around 20 ÔÇô the cyclists coming from behind filed some complaints with the organisers that we were getting in their way.
“This led to us being moved back to start with Group N. Because of this starting position we never really get going and we end up spending a lot of time weaving through the slower cyclists and avoiding crashes.”
This year’s experience turned out to be the same for Van Dyk who raced the entire route with Rustenburg’s Andries Scheepers. “I raced the entire route with Andries, who beat me in the Argus last year after I couldn’t keep up with him going up Chappies.
“This year we battled to the end and we sprinted for the line with me taking my eighth Argus title in 3hr 28min.”
Next up for Van Dyk, along with Tadhg Slattery a six-time Paralympian, is a trip to Europe for a half-marathon in Portugal next Sunday.
“Lisbon is a flat fast course and I’m looking for a time of around 41min. I’ve never been there before but it’s a good race to do before Boston and I’ll go head to head with Marcel Hug from Switzerland who won silver in the marathon at the Paralympics last year.”