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Track aces shine at nationals in Bellville

Our top track aces showed their form at last week’s national championships in BellvilleÔǪ and already the next generation of stars is taking shape, writes Mark Etheridge.

A world silver medallist last year, Nolan Hoffman proved that he’s still on top of the pile when it comes to track racing in South Africa. The Franschhoek born rider won both the scratch and omnium events.

And right behind him in no less than four of the championships events was Evan Carstens.

Our London Olympian, Bernard Esterhuizen, was also in action, winning both the sprint and one-kilometre time trial, although he got beaten by Jeann├® Nell in the keirin event, an event he took part in at the Olympics last year.

Esterhuizen and Nell then teamed up with Jean Smith to make up a sprint team and the three blitzed their way to a formidable effort that bettered the national record of 47.738sec set by Dean Edwards, Shawn Lynch and JP van Zyl in Manchester, England 11 years ago.

And, according to Team SA’s 2012 Paralympic cycling manager Elrick Kulsen, the previous record was set on a far faster track in Manchester.

Kulsen is also full of hope for the next generation of ‘trackies’.

“I reckon that in Juvandre Pauls, we have the next Nolan Hoffman. He’s still a junior and this kid is better than what Nolan was as a junior.”

Riding for the Tasol team Pauls won four national titles at the championships ÔÇô the junior omnium, points race, scratch race and then the team pursuit event with the Tasol team.

Bronwyn Adams, a product from the Rhadsport Eye Q club in Paarl, placed third in the junior omnium and elimination race. “He has a big future ahead of him and is currently on a programme started by the club to prepare him for the 2020 Olympics with the 2016 Olympics as an outside possibility. He’s got a good chance of being selected for the junior world track champs in Scotland later this year,” says Kulsen.

Also showing great potential is Wade Theunnissen who won the 1500m, took second in the Under-16 sprint and third in the time trial and scratch race.

On the para-cycling front, London Paralympian Roxy Burns took gold in both her events. On the Friday afternoon she won the 500m in world championships qualifying time and then took gold in the 3000m the next day.

And Beijing Paralympian Janos Plekker (Rhadsport) is also on the comeback trail, winning the men’s pursuit in a fine time of 5min 25.12sec.


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