Two fifth spots in LA | SASCOC - SASCOC

Two fifth spots in LA

Jaco Nel was Team South Africa’s stand-out cyclist at the 2012 UCI Para-cycling track world championships which ended in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Competing in the C2 category, Nel rode to a fifth-placed finish from a solid ride in the 1000-metre time trials, although he slipped in a few corners. Nel has shown that he is definitely in good form to earn a medal, but needs to hone his technical abilities in the lead up to the London Paralympics.

Nel’s fifth place could’ve been a fourth place had it not been for a C3 Chinese rider having been down-classed to the C2 category and claiming a world record in the process. The UCI classification system can produce unexpected developments during this tough level of competition.

Dane Wilson (C5), Janos Plekker (C4) and Stephan Herholdt (C4) performed as expected, with Herholdt finishing 14th and Plekker 19th and recording a 1:15.688 and 1:18.751 respectively.  Wilson finished in 15th place in a time of 1:14.310 and showed that he has superb development potential for the next few years.

After her disappointing display in the 500m where she ended fifth after a bad start, Roxy Burns again ended fifth in her 3000m pursuit qualifying event, knocking two seconds off her time from last year’s World Championships. ┬áEven though she didn’t qualify for the finals, she clocked a new personal best and South African record in the process.

The three-circuit (750 m) sprint involved three South African riders ÔÇô Nel, Herholdt and Wilson. The team performed very well in this final part of the event program, finishing in seventh place (out of about 20 competing nations), which reflected an improvement compared to the ninth place finish last year and a great way to finish the World Championships!

The track para-cyclists will return to South Africa this week, and will endure a tense three to four weeks while they await announcements from the UCI of the number of para-cycling slots to be allocated to South Africa for the 2012 London Paralympic Games and from Cycling SA regarding the team that will be selected to fill these slots.

For the Paralympic team, the SA National Championships scheduled for March (road) and April (track) 2012 and the three UCI Para-cycling World Cup events to be held in Italy, Spain and Canada this year will be the main platforms to prepare for London 2012.