SA cyclist triumphs at US track meet

19 August 2013

South African track cycling Olympian Bernard Esterhuizen raced to the men’s title in the Keirin at the Deer Park Nature Spring Water UCI Fastest Man (and Woman) on Wheels, held at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania on the weekend.

Trexlertown, home to the most famous velodrome in the United States, is a world famous cycling hub, fondly known by cyclists as T-Town.

Valuable UCI points

By claiming the victory, Esterhuizen captured valuable UCI points, which are needed in order to qualify for the UCI World Cup and World Championship competitions. He also finished third in the sprint, with Njisane Phillip (Trinidad) claiming the victory.

In an interview with The Morning Call, Esterhuizen said that he had planned his season around the UCI races.

Taking the lead position behind the pace motorcycle, the 21-year-old led out to the finish, digging deep to fend off local favourite Matt Baranoski (USA), Poland’s Kamil Kuczynski and Phillip.

Inside 11 seconds

Esterhuizen was one of four riders to break the 11-second mark in the early rounds of the sprint competition, posting 10.73 seconds, followed by Baranoski at 10.76, Kuczynski at 10.90 and Phillip in 10.95.

“Esterhuizen easily knocked off Canada’s Chris Singleton, son of VPCC Hall of Fame member and world champion Gordon Singleton, in the quarterfinals,” The Morning Call reported.

“Gordon Singleton was back at the track for the first time in 10 years and served as holder for his son and several Canadian riders. Philip upset the top-seeded Esterhuizen in the semis.

Defeat

“Philip started the sprint out of turn two, taking the lead after hitting the pole lane ahead of the South African. Philip kept the pedal power in high gear and led out to the end to make the finals.”

Esterhuizen’s high-class speed placed him ahead of Kuczynski for third place.

Maroesjka Matthee

South Africa’s Maroesjka Matthee competed in the women’s challenge and claimed seventh in the Keirin, which was won by Missy Erikson of Colorado. Erikson also picked up UCI points by winning the 10-kilometre scratch race, with Matthee claiming third place.

Matthee described the racing as very fast and said she had been competing in mostly short races since she had been in the United States.

“I raced two Tuesday races and two Friday races,” said Matthee ahead of the Fastest Man on Wheels competition. “I got a fifth place and a sixth place in the first week. Last Friday I got my first podium.

“I won my heat in the 500m chariot race and got narrowly beaten into third in the final. I managed a third place in the elimination and fifth in the Omnium.

“There are a lot of strong ladies racing and it’s not something that I am used to. It really feels like a different world.”

RESULTS

Elite Men – Keirin

  • 1. Bernard Esterhuizen (RSA)
  • 2. Njisane Phillip (TRI)
  • 3. Matthew Baranoski (USA)
  • Elite Men – Sprint

  • 1. Njisane Phillip (TRI)
  • 2. Matthew Baranoski (USA)
  • 3. Bernard Esterhuizen (RSA)
  • Elite Women – Keirin

  • 1. Melissa Erickson (USA)
  • 2. Mandy Marquardt (USA)
  • 3. Colleen Gulick (USA)
  • 7. Maroesjka Matthee (RSA)
  • Elite Women – Scratch

  • 1. Melissa Erickson (USA)
  • 2. Elizabeth Steel (NZL)
  • 3. Maroesjka Matthee (RSA)
  • SAinfo reporter