The 2016 SA National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships culminated with the Para-cycling Road Race in Wartburg, KwaZulu-Natal, on Thursday and like the Time Trial event, exposed a couple of surprise performances and some newcomers to the prestigious race. The undulating route was relentless and required a continued effort from each rider with little room for respite. After being absent from the racing scene last year, Stuart McCreadie (H3) rode incredibly well and although competing in a different class to Ernst Van Dyk, finished way ahead of him.
McCreadie says: ‘It was a very good race on a hard course. It was hard on the way out with a very bumpy road surface, but very nice on the way back in. I kind of pushed pretty hard on the climbs, recovered a little bit on the flats and the downs and rode according to the heart rate monitor. It was a good, solid ride.’ Cycling South Africa’s Para-cycling Commission Director, Dr Mike Burns, says that based on the Time Trial times, he expected their racing times to be similar: ‘Stuart was remarkable and showed superb form and is in contention for selection for the first World Cup In Pietermaritzburg.’ Pre-race favourites Ernst Van Dyk (H5), Pieter Du Preez (H1), Justine Asher (H2) and Craig Ridgard (C2) put in solid performances to claim their respective National Titles.
Burns says that Ridgard’s incredible pace in both the Time Trial and the Road Race have confirmed his position in the squad for the 2016 Rio Paralympics, of which the final team will be selected. Du Preez says: ‘It was an interesting day at the office. But I had a lot of fun out there. Starting in the middle of the day as a quadriplegic who doesn’t sweat was tough! I lost my chain going out on the rough surface in the first nine kilometres, but finally got it back on. For me at this point, I was on my own so it was really semi-training and just seeing where I am at this stage of the year and I’m very happy with my performance.’ In the T2 tricycle race, stalwart Gerhard Viljoen beat Goldy Fuchs on a course that was technically suited for the former.
Burns says: ‘There were a lot of downhills and twisty turns, which doesn’t really suit Goldy, but Gerhard was the better rider on the day.’ The competitive C-class race saw newcomers Gavin Cowden (C5) and Greg Coetzee both ride well with Track cycling specialist Dane Wilson (C5) just edging across the finish line first to secure the victory against Cowan. Burns says: ‘I was impressed with Juan Odendaal’s (C3) performance and his development since returning from a week-long training camp in Spain – this has shown that he is on the right trajectory in the lead up to the Para-cycling Track World Championships, which is his main speciality, in three to four weeks’ time.’
For further event information, please visit http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-sa-para-champs/Summary of Results – 2016 SA National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships – Thursday 11 February 2016PARA-CYCLING ROAD RACE
1.Ernst Van Dyk
1.Gysbert Van Der Niet
1.Pieter Du Preez
2.Reuben Van Niekerk
Van Der Walt
1.Estelle Van Der Merwe
Photo credit: Darren Goddard