Words: Cycling SA
In less than a month, the world’s best Para-cyclists will be making their way to South Africa to compete in the only World Cup race outside of Europe this year at the fourth round of the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Pietermaritzburg from 11-13 September.
Cycling South Africa’s Para-cycling Commission has selected a larger national team than normal due to the event being hosted on home soil. The team strategy is two-fold, with the larger team being selected for newer riders to experience the challenges and realise the targets that need to be achieved when racing against the world’s best athletes. Being a much bigger occasion than a National Championship event, the riders will gain first hand experience of what big competition is all about, and will relish the opportunity to prove themselves against their global peers.
The second part of the team’s strategy is for the top riders, who regularly compete at World Cup level, to aim for podium or top five finishes in their races to secure the optimal nation’s points for competing in a second region (a region outside of Europe).
“In Para-cycling, if an athlete competes in two events in Europe, then only one set of points is scored from their best performance,” said Para-cycling Commission Director, Dr Mike Burns. “If the race is held in another region (Africa), then riders can earn another set of points, thereby doubling their qualification points for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. That’s the big attraction for the world’s top athletes to compete in South Africa.”
The National Team selected includes South Africa’s top riders such as six-time Paralympian and multiple World Champion Ernst van Dyk (H5), newly crowned road race and time trial World Champions Pieter du Preez (H1) and Justine Asher (H2), tricyclists Goldy Fuchs (T2), George Rex (T1) and Gerhard Viljoen (T2), and Craig Ridgard (C2).
Track cycling specialists, Dane Wilson (C5) and Juan Odendaal (C3), have been training hard and will be testing their strengths in the time trial to gain competition experience. Popular national racer, Andries Scheepers (H5) is looking forward to the opportunity of racing in a World Cup field, while counterpart Simon Makgobela (H5 – sponsored by Sport and Recreation South Africa) will continue to hone his competitive ability after his excellent World Cup performances in Italy and Switzerland earlier this year where he entered as an independent rider.
C5 cyclist Vicky Scheepers, C4 cyclist Dylan da Silva (triathlete), T1 tricyclist Toni Mould and blind South African adventurer Hein Wagner, with co-pilot Alwyn de Kock on a tandem, all form part of the National team representing South Africa in the final World Cup round in 2015.
National Team selected for UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup – Pietermaritzburg:
Ernst van Dyk (H5)
Pieter du Preez (H1)
Justine Asher (H2)
Goldy Fuchs (T2)
George Rex (T1)
Gerhard Viljoen (T2)
Craig Ridgard (C2)
Dane Wilson (C5)
Juan Odendaal (C3)
Andries Scheepers (H5)
Simon Makgobela (H5)
Vicky Scheepers (C5)
Toni Mould (T1)
Hein Wagener and Alwyn de Kock (pilot) (MB/VI) Tandem
Dylan da Silva (C4)
Local riders who are not part of the National Team are able to enter the World Cup as independents and there is no limit to the number of independents that can enter. Those riders will need to register through Cycling South Africa to get a UCI International Racing Licence (contact Tarryn Duncan ). The office (Prudence Pietersen ) will then process the registration on the rider’s behalf. The rider’s registration is confirmed once they have paid their accreditation fee, which is Euro75.
More information on the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup Pietermaritzburg can be found here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/2015-uci-para-road-world-cup/