Para-cyclists for LA | SASCOC - SASCOC

Para-cyclists for LA

Our track para-cyclists next head west to Los Angeles in their bid to qualify for the London Paralympics later this year, writes Mark Etheridge.

The occasion is the 2012 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships from 9-12 February.

Recently a group of our top para-cyclists were in Invercargill, New Zealand for a UCI P1 track event where they acquitted themselves well. The team for the United States is pretty much the same barring Juan Wilken who stays at home this time out.

The championships are vital for our cyclists as their performance will be critical in terms of eligibility for selection to the SA team that will participate in the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Once again Roxy Burns is the sole female member of the five strong team. “We leave for LA on 5 February and the competition starts on the 9th,”said the Stellenbosch based star.

“I’m doing the 500-metre and the 3000m as usual. I am really looking forward to it because there will┬á be more competition than in New ZelandÔǪ It’s actually bigger than Paralympics because there are more countries present although the Paralympics has the brand name,” Burns told Road to London 2012 this week.

“Training has gone back to normal after the Christmas break and I’ve started with a bang!”

One thing is for sure, our aces will have no excuses in terms of facilitates in LA. The Velodrome, at the Home Depot Center in Carson is a multi-million dollar sporting facility designated as the ÔÇ£Official US Olympic Training SiteÔÇØ, featuring state-of-the-art stadiums and sports fields for various sporting codes. The Siberian pine velodrome track provides the best possible surface for riders to perform to their very best potential.

The announcement of the Paralympic team is scheduled towards the end of March, when the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) will have communicated to Cycling South Africa the number of slots allocated for the national team.

Although each of the riders has the potential to perform well individually in the World Championships, possibly the most interesting result to watch out for will be the team sprint team’s performance. ┬áThe UCI has recently introduced new rules regarding the combination of classes for the team sprint event, upsetting some of the established combinations of riders fielded by the strongest countries against which South Africa will compete.

In the previous World Championships, apart from some excellent individual podium achievements, South Africa secured a credible 9th place finish in the team sprint, and will be looking to improve upon this performance with the team that will be entered for the event.

The full line-up for Los Angeles is: Janos Plekker (C4), Stephan Herholdt (C4), Jaco Nel (C2), Dane Wilson (C5), Roxy Burns (C4)
Manager: Ben Capostagno, Coach: Elrick Kulsen, Physiotherapist: Sandy Todd