By Mark Etheridge
South Africa’s para-cyclists wrapped up another successful World Cup event in Elzach, Germany and now it’s on to Nottwill, Switzerland for the IPC World Championships this week.
After day one action when Goldy Fuchs picked up silver and Ernst van Dyk bronze in the time trial events there was another medal for George Rex in the T1 road race and a second bronze for Van Dyk in the road race.
Wrapping up the two final days of the competition, coach Ricky Kulsen said: ‘George’s medal came on a very technical course. Then Goldy came seventh in a very hotly contest T2 race on a course that didn’t suit him at all.
‘He’s more of a climber than a short circuit racer!’
Going on, Kulsen said that Craig Ridgard just missed out on a medal in the C2 road race. ‘He was fourth and missed bronze by just millimetres. This is his first year of international competition and he’s still learning.’
There was good news for hand-cyclist Justine Asher who won gold in the H2 category. ‘Justine reclaimed the World Cup leader’s jersey in her division.’
Next up are world champs and Kulsen is wary of the circuit to be used. ‘Ernst especially will be racing on a very hard and might I say dangerous circuit and I’vealready told him not to take any risks because if you make a mistake you could get hurt badly.’
As for Van Dyk, he summed up his two-medal weekend as follows for Road to Rio 2016: ‘The TT went quite well in the end. With 2km to go I was about 18 sec down but the last 2km had the steepest hill and I was able to catch Oz Sanchez and gain two more seconds on him to secure the bronze medal. I perhaps started a bit too slow but we had only been here three days at that point so I was still a bit sluggish from the long travel. The numbers looked good and it seems we are where we wanted to be for world champs.
‘The road race was very technical with around 18 turns per 4.5km lap. So typical criterium-style racing. We don’t do this often enough like for example the Dutch who do a lot of this in the season and I was also a bit conservative in my approach as to not take any risks right before worlds.
‘So I stayed back and often had to play catch-up after every corner so it was a great workout to sharpen up for next week. Worlds is a complete different type of course and we have worked for that. On the last lap my competitive side got the best of my and I moved forward to try to set up a good position for the final sprint.
‘Things got a bit too tight and we touched wheels, I went on two and almost tipped over but was able to save it and only lost a bit of skin on my hand. I was then back to last in our lead group of five and I had to start over… working my way up. In the end I was able to pass Oz just before the line to claim bronze.’