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SA five warm up for Worlds at final German World Cup
- Updated: July 24, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
Five South African cyclists are ready to roll at the final 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Elzach, Germany this weekend.
And the three-day competition takes on huge significance, coming less than a week before the 2015 World Championships in Nottwill, Switzerland.
A total of 38 countries and roughly 200 athletes are in action.
Friday sees the time trials being contested and road action starts Saturday and ends on Sunday.
SA will be represented by six-time Paralympian Ernst van Dyk (H5 category), Goldy Fuchs (T2), George Rex (T1) and Craig Ridgard (C2) while Justine Asher is the only female competitor.
Says coach/manager Ricky Kulsen who was coach at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London: ‘The course for the road race is very technical with some 90 degree turns. For Goldy and George and our H2 rider Justine it is going to be technically challenging.
‘The TT course should suit Ernst van Dyk and newcomer Craig Ridgard. The first half of the course fits a powerful rider like Ernst’s style. Proper pace judging will be the key.
‘Craig is doing 18 km and the last 10km is hard climbing that should suit him. We could get away with at least three medals in the time trial. It’s also nice to see that the weather looks good.for the weekend.
Van Dyk, silver medallist in the road race at the London Paralympics three years ago, told Road to Rio 2016: ‘I feel decent after a very hard five-week block of training. We worked really hard on my climbing as the circuit for world’s climbs around 260 metres per 15km loop with sections at 8% which is quite steep!
‘I’m more of a sprinter than a climber so I had to prepare specifically for it and mentally I need to be ready to get very uncomfortable for the race. If I can hang in with the top climbers I should be able to do something in the last 2km which is fast and flat.
‘Friday’s time trial is all uphill which will be a good test. The road race will be a typical European criterium style race with loads of turns in the 4.5km loop and some sections of interesting road surface.
‘After this we head to Switzerland for world champs where we’ll face the mountains!’
Asher, who has really come into her own in the last while, evidenced by her two gold medals at the World Cup in Italy last month, has also had a good look at the course.
Pictured above, the Capetonian, a former model before a car crash put her in a wheelchair, told Road to Rio 2016. ‘The time trial is just one long drag, with a kick in the last half, so pretty much all uphill.
‘I’ve practiced it twice and I’ll definitely need to go over to electronic shifting as there are lots of shifts in gradient and I’ll need to change gears quite often on this course which a bit tricky with my current mechanical set-up.’