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Three gold medals for SA at World Cup
- Updated: July 16, 2016
South African para-cyclists have struck gold at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Spain’s Basque Country.
Justine Asher, Ernst van Dyk and Gerhard Viljoen all topped the podium in their respective events.
Dr Mike Burns, Cycling SA Para-cycling Commission Director in the Basque Country for this World Cup, compiled a report on day one of the action.
‘The Mistral wind that made things difficult for the Tour de France riders climbing Mont Ventoux on Thursday made itself felt, equally uncomfortably, at Vitoria-Gastez on Friday.
Current UCI Time Trial H2 World Campion, Justine Asher, was the first of the South Africans off the starting ramp. Although it took her a few kilometres to get her heart rate up to optimum, she quickly hauled in her competitors and finished with a near personal best average speed of just over 30 km/h to claim the gold medal.
‘This is a remarkably good and re-assuring performance for her as she prepares for the Rio Paralympic Games. Asher knows that the Vitoria-Gastez Time Trial circuit is a very close equivalent of what is in store for her at Rio, and she is, therefore, extremely pleased with her achievement.
‘South Africa’s T2 rider Gerhard Viljoen maintained an excellent level of concentration throughout his Time Trial and quite easily beat his competitors to claim the gold medal.
‘Viljoen is one of the provisional South African reserve riders for the Rio Paralympics, and proved that if circumstances require him to ride there he will certainly be very competitive.
‘His compatriot, independent T2 rider Goldy Fuchs, finished outside the medals, finding the technical aspects of the circuit difficult to master on the day.
‘Adding to the brace of gold medals won by his two teammates, Ernst van Dyk [in main picture] also won gold for his Time Trial performance, making it three-out–of-three for the South African team. Riding into a strong headwind at times, he achieved a very impressive average speed of over 41km/h. Van Dyk is increasingly comfortable in his new carbon hand-bike and is confident that it will enable him to achieve his goals at the Rio Paralympics.
‘The team has a very nice foundation laid for the road race scheduled for Saturday, which is certain to be very exciting. The race will be hosted by the town of Elorrio, in a very different environment than that of the Time Trial.
‘The circuit includes a long uphill drag entailing almost 100 metres elevation gain before an extremely fast, meandering downhill section ending in a tight chicane-like corner that allows only the quickest (or bravest) rider to claim the one and only racing line through it.’