Cycling South Africa’s Para-cycling road team spent a very productive week based in Nottwill, Switzerland last week training for the London Paralympic Games.
The region provides cycling routes, including circuits around the beautiful Sempachersee Lake that are relatively free of traffic, with good road surfaces, variable gradients and some quite technical elements.
A typical training day included morning and afternoon sessions, with the programme alternating mostly between tempo and interval riding. Although the training environment was good for the team’s two hand-cyclists (Ernst van Dyk and Stuart McCreadie), it was exceptionally good for the tricyclists (Gerhard Viljoen and Madre Carinus) who require a safe channel in which to ride (a tricycle is about three times the width of a regular bike), free of concerns for traffic hazards.
Having participated the previous weekend in what was a high intensity UCI World Cup event in Rome, this was just what the riders needed in terms of getting re-centred and quietly focused on their Paralympic goals.
The Swiss training programme culminated in the team’s participation in the Knutwill time trial and Schenkon road race (one of the most popular hand-cycling competitions hosted globally), which were held on 2nd and 3rd June respectively. It was quite clear from the team’s performance in these events that the week’s hard training paid off.
Van Dyk, Carinus and Viljoen secured gold in both events, whilst McCreadie, competing in a field of about 50 H2 handcyclists, finished 7th and 9th in the time trial and road race respectively. These were remarkably good performances for McCreadie, who has climbed higher into the ranks of the leading bunch of finishers in each international race in which he has competed over the past 12 months.
The team arrived back in South Africa on Tuesday and after a very short break, McCreadie, van Dyk and fellow H4 hand cyclist Andries Scheepers will depart on 12th June for Spain to participate in a UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup event that will be hosted in Segovia.
A haul of 2 silver medals and 1 bronze from the Rome World Cup, and 6 gold medals from Switzerland is a quite remarkable achievement for any South African cycling team.
Summary of Results - Para-cycling 2012 Knutwil – TT
Men H2 Handcycling
1 Heinz Frei (SUI) 29:13.5
2 David Franek (FRA) 29:55.1 +41.6
3 Vittorio Podesta (ITA) 29:57.6 +44.1
7 Stuart McCreadie (RSA) 30:52.1 +1:38.6
Men H4 Handcycling
1 Ernst Van Dyk (RSA) 29:18.4
2 Stuart Tripp (AUS) 30:48.0 +1:29.6
3 Bruno Huber (SUI) 33:18.8 +4:00.4
Men T2 Tricycling
1 Gerhard Viljoen (RSA) 18:50.0
2 Helmut Winterleitner (AUT) 24:03.8 +5:13.8
3 Ansgar Schneider (GER) 31:10.2 +12:20.2
Women T2 Tricycling
1 Madre Carinus (RSA) 48:37.0
2012 Schenkon Wheelchair Marathon
Men H2 – Handcycling
1 David Franek (FRA) 1:35.27,0
2 Jean-Marc Berset (SUI) 1:35.29,9 +0.02,9
3 Walter Ablinger (AUT) 1:35.30,6 +0.03,6
9 Stuart McCreadie (RSA) 1:35.56,3 +0.29,3
Men H4 – Handcycling
1 Ernst van Dyk (RSA) 1:42.07,9
2 Stuart Tripp (AUS) 1:42.10,6 +0.02,7
3 Bruno Huber (SUI) 1:56.44,0 +14.36,1
Men T2 – Tricycling
1 Gerhard Viljoen (RSA) 38.11,9
2 Helmut Winterleitner (AUT) 39.06,1 +0.54,2
3 Ansgar Schneider (GER) 48.57,9 +10.46,0
Women T2 – Tricycling
1 Madre Carinus (RSA) 50.41,2