Paralympian silver medallist Ernst van Dyk notched up yet another victory at the weekend when he raced to victory in the OCC (Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge) event held in George, writes Mark Etheridge (www.roadtorio.co.za)
More than 1000 wheelchair and hand-cyclists, including a smattering of internationals, lined up for the marathon event as Paarl-based Van Dyk brought the field home in a speedy 01 hour 09 minutes 30 seconds.
Runner-up was Andries Scheepers and Van Dyk’s fellow 2012 London Paralympian Stuart McCreadie filled up the podium.
“The race went pretty much as expected after Stuart, Andries and myself were made the pre-race favourites,” Van Dyk told Road to Rio 2016. “Andries made a very fast start and for a while Stu was right out of it. But he fought back to get to us and after that we just kept the pace high and changed the lead continuously until at the end it was just the three of us left.”
On the second lap, the wind picked up, making things that much harder. “We went slightly slower in the later stages and missed last year’s record by roughly a minute!
“In the last kilometre, I positioned myself at the front, as we went over a bridge and just controlled the sprint from there to win the race in a neck and neck finish."
Van Dyk also paid tribute to his opponents. “Andries has once again improved since last year and it’s going to be exciting for me to have a teammate in the H4 UCI World Cup races this season to take on the Dutch and US teams."
Next up for Van Dyk is the Cape Argus Cycle Tour next month. “That’s going to be an exciting one after Andries ‘clapped’ me last year, although this year my training’s a bit different as it isn’t a Paralympic year.”