27 August 2013
South African para-cyclists captured two gold medals and three World Cup leaders’ jerseys at the 2013 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup Series in Matane, Canada on the weekend.
Reigning world champion Ernst van Dyk claimed the first gold medal by edging out his nemesis Alessandro Zanardi in a sprint finish to the road race. Zanardi had won the time trial two days earlier.
The first three riders to cross the finish line after eight laps and 66.4km of racing – Van Dyk, Zanardi and Jetze Plat (Ned) – all recorded the same time of 01:56:51, with only four seconds separating the top five riders.
It was the first time this season that Van Dyk, who races in the H4 category, had defeated former Formula One driver Zanardi, who had dominated the previous rounds of the road racing and time trial disciplines.
South Africa’s second gold medal was awarded to T1 Tricyclist George Rex, who won the time trial over an 8.3km course in 17:40.09, 13.08 seconds ahead of Spain’s Aitor Oroza Flores, with Jiri Hindr of the Czech Republic finishing third.
C4 cyclist Roxy Burns retained her World Cup leaders’ jersey, which she had earned after her first race earlier this season. It’s a great achievement for Burns, especially since her preferred discipline is track cycling.
‘Our best ever World Cup’
“This was our best ever World Cup,” team coach Ricky Kulsen told Road to Rio’s Mark Etheridge. “Due to consistently riding in all the events, Roxy won the C4 World Cup overall without winning one single race. This was actually just part of getting her used to riding the road in preparation for the track.
“Our new T1 rider George Rex was a pleasant surprise. He finished fourth in Italy, and then followed it up with second places in Spain, and a win and third place here in Matane.
“Of course we are also well aware that his main adversary, the French rider, broke his collarbone and did not compete.
“Consistency also gave Justine Asher the overall win in the H2 class.” Asher’s achievement was all the more remarkable since she had to return home early after racing at the Italian leg of the World Cup series following a crash in which she broke bones in a foot.
The team’s attention will next be turned onto the 2013 World Championships as they settle in at Baie-Comeau in Quebec. Racing starts on Thursday, 29 August.