UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup - One last chance to shine in Pietermaritzburg
Starting on Friday, September 11, 156 athletes from 25 countries will try to end the 2015 season on a good note so as to get a head start in the next step towards the big event in 2016.
Well renowned on the mountain bike scene as a regular host to the sport’s World Cup competitions and even to an edition of the World Championships, Pietermaritzburg will be hosting the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships of 2017.
Time trials will take place on Friday and the Midmar Dam complex, while on Saturday and Sunday, Alexandra Park will host the road races.
Several Titles at Stake
The fight to lead the circuit promises to be tight, starting with the Men’s H2 Class, with Israel’s Yaakov Kobi Lion (112 points) and Belgium’s Christophe Hindricq (110 points) practically neck and neck.
American William Groulx, a three-time medallist at the latest UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships, may also make some noise in the competition.
The final Men’s C5 Class races are guaranteed to be just as exciting. Dutch Daniel Abraham Gebru (122 points) is 8 points ahead of Australian Alistair Donohoe (116 points), who will certainly try to close the gap.
It will also be a tough battle for the H1 title, between Finnish Teppo Polvi (152 points), who finished first twice this season at Maniago (Italy), and Czech Patrik Jahoda (142 points).
On the women’s side, the tandem events are looking promising. Crowned three times in six World Cup events this season, Polish Iwona Podkoscielna and Aleksandra Wnuczek (pilot) should watch out for their closest rivals, Dutch Odette Van Deudekom and Kim Van Dijk (pilot), nipping at their heels by just 16 points.
Podkoscielna and Wnuczek are of course a tough team to displace from the top spot, having snatched two gold medals at the Nottwil (Switzerland) World Champs.
Led by veteran Ernst van Dyk (H5), the South-African 23-athlete team will want to show it’s now ready to race with the elite athletes in the world.
Van Dyk is not the only star in the team – rising stars Justine Asher (H2) and Pieter du Preez (H1) are also ready to shine, glowing in the rainbow jerseys they earned at the World Championships.