After a three-medal haul by South African Para-cyclists Ernst van Dyk, George Rex and Craig Ridgard in the road race of the Italian Verola Cup (2 and 3 May), the team followed up with two more gold medals in the time trial on the final day of the event (4 May).
With the residents of the towns of Verolavecchia, Cadignano, Bieda Libera and Verolanuova acting as perfect hosts to the time-triallists flashing past and with sunny, slightly breezy weather, conditions could not have been better in terms of enabling good performances.
Ridgard, who was the first of the South Africans out of the blocks, was extremely happy with his personal-best time trial average speed, which secured him a respectable 7th place.
Van Dyk produced more of the magic that is making 2014 an exceptional year for him and comfortably claimed gold by easily beating his closest H5 competitor, Jetze Plat. He was particularly happy with his performance in terms of the average power that he recorded over the race distance.
Rex ensured the best possible ending for the South African team by hauling in the riders he set out to chase, claiming his 2nd gold medal of the event.
The luxury of savouring what has been a great set of results for the South Africans at the Verola Cup is likely to be short-lived. A five-hour motoring trip across some beautiful Italian countryside now has the team based in La Principina, some 10 km from the coastal town of Castiglione della Pescaia, where the Italian World Cup is scheduled to begin on Friday 9 May.
Cycling South Africa’s Para-cycling Commission Director, Dr. Mike Burns, said: “Following the Verola time trial, the riders will quickly work out any residual lactic acid from their legs and arms during the first day of in situ training for the World Cup and will then aim to get to know the technicalities of the routes that have been planned for the event.
“Although ostensibly relatively non-technical, the routes are certain to have a sting in their tails - by demanding faster racing speeds and smart tactics. If Para-cycling was around in Isaac Newton’s day he would probably have formulated an equation something along the lines of the following:
“T x S = Pp [where T = technicality; S = speed; and Pp = para-cycling pain (a constant]”