Ernst sharpens focus | SASCOC - SASCOC

Ernst sharpens focus

With the cycling team still to be finalised, 2011 UCI handcycling World Champion Ernst van Dyk expects some tough competition at this year’s Nedbank National Championships for Physically Disabled in Durban at the weekend.

Coming off wins in Florida, USA and George, Van Dyk is slowly fine tuning his training as he heads into the final months before the London 2012 Paralympics, and is looking forward to a good performance at this year’s Nationals.

Van Dyk will start the final downhill slope to London as he takes leave from his full-time job to concentrate solely on his quest for medals and knows he will be pushed to the limit in Durban.

ÔÇ£I’m leaving my day job, I’ve managed to save up enough money to train full-time for the next six months as we head towards London. It helps as I will be more focused and will be working towards big improvements in my times as I work toward the bigger picture,ÔÇØ Van Dyk explains.

Much of the excitement for the Durban nationals comes in the form of Van Dyk’s team-mate Stuart McCreadie and rising star Andries Scheepers, who will be pushing Van Dyk all the way for the national title in Durban.

Scheepers managed to beat Van Dyk at the recent Argus Tour, but that was over a much longer distance and with a faster track which is flat and doesn’t have much turn, things will be tight.

ÔÇ£At the moment I’m on base training and working towards peaking in London, so while I am at a different point in my training, I’m obviously motivated to give a good show in Durban,ÔÇØ Van Dyk added.

The medal prospect sees the competition as a good thing, not only for London but further ahead where he is hoping that the success of his fellow cyclists may see him have a team-mate for the bigger races worldwide.

ÔÇ£We’re very much a cycling nation and that helps improve the competitiveness. It’s great having another guy who can be a future team-mate. That is something that is a big problem in overseas races. The Americans and Dutch for instance, have three or four guys in races with me and they can share tactics. I have to counter every single move they make. To think of having a team-mate in future is really exciting.ÔÇØ

Unfortunately Scheepers, the African Continental champion will not be going to London, needing to still secure a competitive UCI world ranking, but will be hoping to make a big impression in Durban.

The cycling category at the Nedbank Champs will be one of the most competitive, especially as Cycling SA has released a preliminary squad of 10 cyclists to go to London, a list that will be whittled down to six names by the end of the Nationals.

The most competitive of the races is set to be the Tricycle (T2) category, where Riaan Nel, Goldie Fuchs and Gerhard Viljoen are all in good form and will fight it out for a place to go to London.