Veteran Van Dyk blitzes to TT victory at nationals | SASCOC - SASCOC

Veteran Van Dyk blitzes to TT victory at nationals

The 2014 Time Freight national road cycling championships got underway in Durban on Tuesday and six-time Paralympian Ernst van Dyk blitzed to victory in the H4 handcycling class when he blitzed the 16.4 kilometre time trial course in 25 minutes and 52 seconds.

Van Dyk, pictured in action on the right, said that it’s the first time that he has felt in this good shape in February. ÔÇ£I’ve had no off-season this year. I trained hard during December ÔÇô the bar has been raised significantly, and I changed my training strategy to improve my average time. The course was tough today because of the wind. Yesterday during practice, it was super fast, today was tough.ÔÇØ

Van Dyk’s time was two-and-a-half minutes faster than fellow H4 competitor Andries Scheepers, who claimed silver. Bronze went to Christopher Large.

ÔÇ£Our first World Cup is in the beginning of May, and World Champs is much later in the year, so it’s a long season,ÔÇØ said Van Dyk. He does however feel chilled about Friday’s road race in Westville.

London Paralympics cycling coach Elrick Kulsen was hugely impressed with Van Dyk’s charge: “It was great racing. Ernst won his class in the same ave speed (38km/h) that Alex Zinardi won the world title last year,” he told Road to Rio 2016.

In the women’s handcycling H1 TT race, it was Justine Asher who posted a winning time of 18min 09sec along the 8.2km course. Asher, who has been racing since November 2012, was very happy with her result.

ÔÇ£I enjoyed the time trial, but I feel that I do better in the road race,ÔÇØ said Asher, like Van Dyk, from the Western Cape. ÔÇ£I’ve been training hard, with increased intensity and intervals. The wind kept me cool today and I enjoyed the simplicity of the course. Sometimes the courses can be tricky to navigate when you’re so low to the ground.ÔÇØ See Asher in action on the right.

Piet du Preez (H1 handcycling) posted 20:21 on his 8.2km lap to claim the national championship title. Du Preez also holds the accolade of being the first quadriplegic in the world to finish an Iron Man, a feat that he achieved in Australia in December.

ÔÇ£Compared to my preparation for the Iron Man, I was not in good form today,ÔÇØ said Du Preez. ÔÇ£I broke my forearm in three places six weeks before Iron Man, so I had to rest after that race. I am happy with my result today considering my arm has been in a cast for four weeks during my preparations.

ÔÇ£I loved the course today, and the race was well organised. It is not too technical, but I could still feel the wind out there, even though we’re quite close to the ground.

Like Van Dyk, Du Preez will also turn to the athletics discipline of wheelchair racing in the coming weeks as he aims to claim his third consecutive title at the Berlin Marathon. Van Dyk will be looking to secure his 10th victory at the Boston Marathon this year.

There was also some great racing in the H2 event over 8.2km. Said Kulsen: “As I promised that event was probaly the highlight of the day, with Yustin Lintnaar winning by eight seconds from Goldie Fuchs while Gerhard Viljoen had bike trouble.” Lintnaar clocked exactly 15min compared to Fuchs’ 15:08 with Viljoen third in 17.26.

The time trial continues on Wednesday, when the Masters’ age groups take to the course with national titles at stake. Veteran Men, from age 30 to 80+ years, and Veteran Women, from age 30 to 60 years, were scheduled to compete starting at 7am.

Pictures: Mylene Paynter.