SA Para Team ends Swiss World Cup on a high

Medals won by each of the riders in national team

Putting the icing on top of what has been a great three-week European tour, South Africa’s Pieter du Preez and Craig Ridgard claimed gold and bronze medals respectively in their road races this week at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, from 14-16 June. This makes it a full house in terms of medals won by each of the riders comprising the national team when you add a gold medal for Du Preez and a silver medal for Ernst van Dyk’s in the time trial.

Having just smashed the world record in one of his racing wheelchair events, Road World Champion Pieter du Preez nailed the flat yet technical Time Trial circuit. He established a lead very early in the race, claiming the gold medal by more than two minutes ahead of his closest rival. The victory gave Du Preez all the confidence he needed for the road race on a tough course, where he simply blew his competition away and claimed his second gold medal of the weekend.

 
World Champion Ernst van Dyk crosses the line in his road race. He claimed silver medal in his time trial at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, from 14-16 June. Photo: Illse du Preez

World Champion Ernst van Dyk crosses the line in his road race. He claimed silver medal in his time trial at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, from 14-16 June. Photo: Illse du Preez

 

Determined to improve on his performance from the Italian World Cup, Ernst van Dyk pulled out all the stops from the get-go, setting his sights on a podium finish in the time trial. His main rival was American Oscar Sanchez, who could not have been given a circuit more suited to his competitive strengths. Both the SA team management and the US support team had Van Dyk and Sanchez neck-in-neck in terms of split times at various points around the circuit. Ultimately it was 0.43 seconds that separated Van Dyk’s silver medal achievement from Sanchez’s gold.

In the road race, World Champion Van Dyk literally and figuratively had a mountain to climb. His main competition was the trio of Dutch riders who collaborated to rotate the attack on the steepest sections of the route, forcing Van Dyk to follow each time. Struggling to maintain good traction on the front drive wheel of his handcycle, under wet conditions, he ultimately lost contact with the lead group and had to settle for a 4th place finish. Set beside his silver medal win in the time trial the previous day, and with the obvious the improvement in his competition results relative to last week’s Italian World Cup, Van Dyk was not unhappy with his World Cup performance overall.

 
Pieter du Preez raced to two victories, getting gold medals in his road race and time trial at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, from 14-16 June. Photo: Illse du Preez

Pieter du Preez raced to two victories, getting gold medals in his road race and time trial at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, from 14-16 June. Photo: Illse du Preez

 


Employing every best-practice technique that he is aiming to master, Craig Ridgard rode a near perfect time trial, finishing in 5th place, only 6-seconds slower than the bronze medallist. He was extremely satisfied with his performance, in particular its contribution to a trajectory of continuous improvement.

The road race circuit was highly suited to Ridgard’s strengths, which included his good climbing skills. Like his teammate Du Preez, Ridgard adopted a thoroughly analytical approach to preparing and executing his road race plan. Anticipating the break-away tactics of the Peruvian and Spanish riders who claimed the gold and silver medals at the previous week’s Italian World Cup, he planned to take the bronze medal by attacking on the climbing sections of the route and by positioning himself perfectly for a sprint finish in the final 100m of the race. The excitement of the sprint was tangible amongst the crowd at the finish line and Ridgard was clearly thrilled by his medal win, which will be the first of many to come.

 
Craig Ridgard claimed the Bronze medal in his C2 road race at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, from 14-16 June. Photo: Illse du Preez

Craig Ridgard claimed the Bronze medal in his C2 road race at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, from 14-16 June. Photo: Illse du Preez

 


The investment in independent rider Simon Makgobela, which was made possible by generous funding from the Sport and Recreation South Africa, paid huge dividends in terms of fast-tracking the development and competitive ability of this talented rider. Beating one seasoned rider in the road race, and proving his ability to race under pressure and difficult circuit conditions, Makgobela proved that he has what it takes to become a world champion.
Competing in only his second international time trial, Makgobela performed exceptionally well. His ninth place finish, which was only around three minutes slower than the performances of a number of his World and Paralympic Champion competitors, was outstanding.

 
Simon Makgobela made Sport and Recreation South Africa and the rest of the country proud at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, from 14-16 June. Photo: Illse du Preez

Simon Makgobela made Sport and Recreation South Africa and the rest of the country proud at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, from 14-16 June. Photo: Illse du Preez

 


It was rewarding to note the respect that was afforded him by the international community of riders with whom he has engaged over the past few weeks – with much of this having translated into friendships that are likely to endure. Simon will be returning to the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport to complete the high performance programme that has been developed for him.
Makgobela next competes internationally in the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, which is scheduled for 11-13 September this year.

Summary of Results – 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup No.1 – Maniago (ITA)
ROAD RACE


Men C2
1 Israel HILARIO RIMAS (PER)    01:42:06
2 Maurice ECKHARD TIO (ESP) 01:42:06
3 Victor Hugo GARRIDO MARQUEZ (VEN) 01:46:13
9 Craig RIDGARD (RSA) 01:46:13

Men H5
1 Tim DE VRIES (NED) 01:51:59
2 Alessandro ZANARDI (ITA) 01:51:59
3 Jetze PLAT (NED) 01:52:01
9 Ernst VAN DYK (RSA) 01:56:20
11 Simon MAKGOBELA (RSA)

Women H2
1 Justine ASHER (RSA) 00:39:25
2 Carmen KOEDOOD (NED) 00:41:14
3 Mikyoung JEON (KOR) 00:57:20

Men T2
1 Carlo CALCAGNI (ITA) 00:50:08
2 Hans-Peter DURST (GER) 00:50:15
3 Goldy FUCHS (RSA) 00:53:27
10 Gerhard VILJOEN (RSA) 00:56:05

TIME TRIAL

Men H5
1 Alessandro ZANARDI (ITA) 00:39:48
2 Tim DE VRIES (NED) 00:41:43
3 Oscar SANCHEZ (USA) 00:42:18
5 Ernst VAN DYK (RSA) 00:44:13
11 Simon MAKGOBELA (RSA) 00:52:08

Women H2
1 Justine ASHER (RSA) 00:33:28
2 Mikyoung JEON (KOR) 01:03:34
3 Josie PEARSON (GBR) 01:03:49

Men C2
1 Colin LYNCH (IRL) 00:19:06
2 Arslan GILMUTDINOV (RUS) 00:19:08
3 Ivo KOBLASA (CZE) 00:19:15
4 Craig RIDGARD (RSA) 00:19:32

Men T2
1 Carlo CALCAGNI (ITA) 00:19:12
2 Hans-Peter DURST (GER) 00:19:53
3 Ryan BOYLE (USA) 00:20:45
4 Goldy FUCHS (RSA) 00:21:22
8 Gerhard VILJOEN (RSA) 00:22:37

Summary of Results – 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup No.2 – Yverdon-les-Bains (SUI)

ROAD RACE

Men C2
1 Israel HILARIO RIMAS (PER) 01:19:43
2 Maurice ECKHARD TIO (ESP) 01:20:06
3 Craig RIDGARD (RSA) 01:20:43

Men H1
1 Nicolas Pieter DU PREEZ (RSA) 01:00:33
2 Teppo POLVI (FIN) 01:01:21
3 Rafal MIKOLAJCZYK (POL) 01:08:33

Men H5
1 Jetze PLAT (NED) 01:55:03
2 Johan REEKERS (NED) 01:55:39
3 Tim DE VRIES (NED) 01:56:26
4 Ernst VAN DYK (RSA) 02:00:41
7 Simon MAKGOBELA (RSA)

TIME TRIAL

Men C2
1 Colin LYNCH (IRL) 00:18:41.63
2 Arslan GILMUTDINOV (RUS) 00:19:45.35
3 Israel HILARIO RIMAS (PER) 00:19:55.62
5 Craig RIDGARD (RSA) 00:20:01.66

Men H1
1 Nicolas Pieter DU PREEZ (RSA) 00:30:24.93
2 Patrik JAHODA (CZE) 00:32:38.73
3 Teppo POLVI (FIN) 00:32:42.05

Men H5
1 Oscar SANCHEZ (USA) 00:20:05.17
2 Ernst VAN DYK (RSA) 00:20:05.6
3 Tim DE VRIES (NED) 00:20:09.05
9 Simon MAKGOBELA (RSA) 00:23:37.47