Cycling South Africa’s Para-cycling Commission proudly announces the following riders who have been selected to represent South Africa at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships taking place in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, from 26-29 March.
The Championship event will provide an excellent foundation for re-building the international competitiveness of South Africa’s Para-cycling track team in the build-up to Rio 2016. In a situation where the UCI has hosted relatively few international track competitions over the past three years, the 2015 World Championships will serve as a stepping-stone into the 2016 grand season, when it is expected that the country’s top riders will reach their peak competitive condition.
Two highly experienced riders selected to represent South Africa at Apeldoorn include Dane Wilson (C5 arm amputee rider) and Roxy Burns (C4 classed rider with a cerebral palsy-type disability). Wilson has showed a steady improvement in his international competitiveness over the past few years and is certain to extend this trend at this year’s World Championships. Burns, who spent 2014 completing her university studies, is re-building her strength and stamina and expects to perform in the Netherlands at levels approaching her previous best performances. She is optimistic that by year-end, going into 2016, she will be right up there challenging the world’s best riders in her class.
Para-cyclists Juan Odendaal and Craig Ridgard will represent South Africa for the first time at a track World Championships. Ridgard, a previous South African bronze medallist in the 2014 Italian Verolanuava road race, is following the example of many road champions – which is to exploit the potential of track cycling – to build his sprint capabilities for this year’s international road competition season. He will compete in the pursuit and scratch races, and aims to put pressure on his fellow competitors in both events. As the youngest member of the South African team, Odendaal will use the opportunity of competing in the individual time trial and team sprint events to build a platform for an international career that is certain to span many years to come.
The current projection, based on 2014 international racing achievements, is that South African Para-cycling is likely to secure four men and two women slots for Rio 2016. These statistics provide a massive incentive for the four riders, competing in the Netherlands, to stake a claim to the slots that will be on offer.
South African Team:
Dr Mike Burns