South African H4 Hand-cyclist and defending road race World Champion Ernst Van Dyk squeezed a silver medal in an exciting sprint finish at the 2013 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships that took place in Baie-Comeau, Canada on Saturday (31 August).
The day started with H1 Hand-cyclist Justine Asher's road race. Unfortunately she was the only H1 rider entered for the event, following the re-classification of the H1 World Champion Cassie Mitchell into the H2 class. Nevertheless, the two riders still ended up racing one another (unofficially) for two of the three laps of the race with Asher having no problems at all to keep pace.
Different to the final road race of the World Cup series in Matane, when Asher was not feeling well, she looked great on the day and has great prospects of becoming increasingly competitive over the next few years, when she is sure to have other riders to compete against.
The competition in the T2 class was unfortunately just too strong for the young SA tricyclist Yusthin Lintnaar. Once he had lost contact with the lead group it was just too difficult for him to close the gap. However, it was excellent experience for Lintnaar, who is participating in his first season of international competition.
George Rex, who competes as a T1 tricyclist, was involved in a very closely contested race between the Spanish World Champion and a young Czech rider. Playing to his competitive strengths as a climber, Rex attacked on the last lap of the race and held onto the lead for much of the time. However, the technical nature of the circuit was ultimately too much for him and he had to settle for 3rd place.
SA's top recliner hand-cyclist (H2) Stuart McCreadie found himself in the best possible position mid-way through his race to secure a personal best World Championship finish. Contributing to a five-rider breakaway group with a significant gap on the following bunch he was extremely unfortunate to have his chain break and have his hopes dashed of a potential 4th place finish.
The race of the day was the H4 hand-cycle event, which had defending World Champion Van Dyk pitted against Paralympian gold medallist Alessandro Zanardi (ITA). Van Dyk was well positioned to win the race, but was forced to brake too soon in the final 500m and was not able to hold off Zanardi's last minute attack.
The race went to a sprint finish over the last 100m, however, the distance was just too short for Van Dyk to recover the situation. Although he was disappointed to lose his World Champion status, Van Dyk is nevertheless extremely satisfied with the two silver medals that he has claimed at the 2013 World Championships.
Summary of Results – 2013 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships
Women’s H1 Road Race – 3 laps 25.9km
1 Justine Asher RSA 01:20:45
Men H2 Road Race – 7 laps 60.5km
1 Walter Ablinger AUT 01:46:05
2 Heinz Frei SUI 01:46:09 +00:00:04
3 Vittorio Podesta ITA 01:46:09 +00:00:04
Stuart McCreadie DNF
Men H4 Road Race – 8 laps 69.1km
1 Alessandro Zanardi ITA 02:03:32
2 Ernst van Dyk RSA 02:03:32 +00:00:00
3 Jetze Plat NED 02:03:35 +00:00:03
Men T1 Road Race – 3 laps 25.9km
1 Aitor Oroza Flores ESP 01:11:31
2 Jiri Hindr CZE 01:11:41 +00:00:10
3 George Rex RSA 01:12:49 +00:01:18
Men T2 Road Race – 3 laps 25.9km
1 David Stone GBR 00:48:55
2 Hans-Peter Durst GER 00:49:08 +00:00:13
3 Nestor Ayala Ayala COL 00:49:27 +00:00:32
9 Yusthin Lintnaar RSA 00:55:33 +00:06:38