UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup: South Africans impress
With several nations sitting out the first round of the 2016 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, athletes from the host country made the most of their absence to dominate many of the events.
In the handbike racing, three South Africans won both the time trial and road race. Ernst Van Dyk (H5) and Stuart Mc Creadie (H3) were victorious in the time trial (18.45km) and road race (49.20km), while Justine Asher dominated the women’s H1 time trial (12.3km) and road race (24.60km). Meanwhile Nicolas Pieter Du Preez was the fastest in the Men’s H1 time trial, also raced over a distance of 12.3km.
The South African tricycle specialist Goldy Fuchs took honours in front of fellow South African Gerhard Viljoen in both the Men’s T2 events.
In the men’s C4 sport class (adapted bicycles), Slovakia’s Jozef Metelka easily dominated the 24.6km on Saturday as well as the 67.70km road race Sunday.
South Africans Vicky Scheepers (C4), Estelle Van Der Merwe (C5), Juan Odendaal (C3) and Craig Ridgard (C2) also won two gold medals at the weekend.
There was a hard-fought battle between the men’s tandems. On Saturday, Poland’s Przemyslaw Wegner and his pilot Artur Korc were the fastest in the time trial in front of two Irish tandems Peter Ryan / Sean Hahessy (2nd) and Damien Vereker / Marcin Mizgajski. In the 73.80km road race the next day, Vereker and Mizgajski were the fastest, followed by Ryan and Hahessy. The Polish tandem took third place.
The next round of the UCI World Cup will take place in Ostend, Belgium, from May 20 to 22. The competition will be intense as several athletes will be trying to earn a place at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
What you should know about… Pietermaritzburg
Known as Africa’s Bike City since 2009, Msunduzi/Pietermaritzburg hosted its first round of the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in 2015. It will also organise the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in 2017.
The para-cyclists were able to enjoy the open spaces of this “City of Flowers”, with the race courses taking riders alongside several parks.
While cycling is becoming increasingly popular in this country, one of the most-played sports is cricket. Indeed it was just in front of the Pietermaritzburg cricket grounds that the start was given for all the para-cycling races.
Focus on…. Jozef Metelka
The Slovak Josef Metelka is one of the men to beat in the C4 sport class. He topped the road ranking last year and is reigning UCI World Champion and World Record holder in the pursuit on the track.
Metelka has always been a huge sportsman. When he was younger he was active in skiing, mountain biking and tennis. After losing his left leg in an accident he was even more determined to excel in his favourite sports. He began para-cycling in 2013 and started riding professionally in 2014. He also continues to ski.
1st – C4 overall ranking, 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup
4th – C4 time trial, 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships
2nd – C4 time trial, 2014 UCI Para-cycling Road Wold Championships
1st – C4 pursuit, 2016 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships
2nd – C4 time trial, 2016 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships
1st – C4 pursuit, 2015 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships
2nd – C4 time trial, 2015 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships
1st – C4 pursuit, 2014 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships
2nd – C4 time trial, 2014 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships
2nd – C4 scratch, 2014 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships