By Mark Etheridge
Our South African para-cyclists team have wrapped up their preparations for this week’s UCI para-cycling road championships in Canada with an excellent World Cup performance.
The team competed this weekend at the final World Cup of the year in the Canadian town of Matane.
Now they move to the town of Baie-Comeau on the Gulf of St Lawrence’s north bank for World Championships which start on Friday.
“This was our best ever World Cup,” said a happy team coach Ricky Kulsen (he also served in that capacity at the London Paralympics). “Due to consistently riding in all events Roxy Burns won the C4 world cup overall without winning one single race. This was actually just part of getting her used to riding the road in preparation for the track.”
Burns was a member of Team South Africa at the London Olympics.
“Our new T1 rider George Rex was a surprise. He finished four in Italy, then followed it up with second places in Spain and a win and third place here in Metane Canada. Of course we are also well aware that his main adversary, the French rider, broke his collarbone and did not compete.
“Consistency also gave Justine Asher the overall win in the H2 class.” Asher had to return home early after racing at the Italian leg of the World Cup series when she crashed and broke bones in her foot.
Six-time Paralympian Ernst van Dyk finally got one over his arch-rival Alex Zinardi in the road race. Zinardi races a custom-made machine that gives him a huge advantage but Van Dyk has also recently upgraded his bike and the result showed.
“Ernst beat Zinardi in the road race in exactly the same manner that Zinardi beat him in the Paralympics,” said Kulsen.
“To top it all both Stu Mcreedie and Yustin Lintnaar finished finished top five overall in the categories so overall it’s a very good season or us.”
Moving on to World Champs and Kulsen has a confident tone. “At World champs we have a good chance of getting at least three medals. Ernst looks in good shape for challenging for gold as does George. Justine could also sneak in a medal in the H1 class. Our relay team also finished fifth overall in the very first season of competing!”