By Mark Etheridge
Team South Africa successfully survived their first day at the opening UCI World Cup para-cycling event in Merano, Italy on Friday.
The opening day saw the time trial being contested and despite failing to medal, SA ended with three fourth places and a sixth.
The three fourth places went to London Paralympics silver medallist Ernst van Dyk in the H4 hand cycle category. He clocked 21min 26sec as ex Formula One ace Alex Zanardi won in 20:05.
Other fourth places went to Yusthin Lintnaar (T2) who returned a 12:48 behind Britain’s David Stoen (11:49) and George Rex in the T1 class (17:15) as France’s Quentin Aubague clocked 14:31.
Cape Town’s Roxy Burns had an eventful day in the C4 category with two crashes and despite ending third failing to medal in a small category.
“It really wasn’t bad for the first international event of the year,” said team coach Rcky Kulsen. “Paarl local Yusthin ‘We have a problem’ Lintnaar did very well against Olympic champion Stone and world champion Hans Durst. Super chuffed at his performance.”
Burns ended with a 51:54 finish in the C4 category. Said Burns, more comfortable on the track circuit: “I came off the bike twice going around corners, the first time head over handles into an apple tree and the second one, around a corner into red tape and straight into pavement… rode on with a mouth full of dirt. This was all in the first 5km of a 22km time trial.
“Then I had a monster of a hill that i crawled up….needless to say I did not medal but that’s racing for you.”