Handcyclists Ernst van Dyk and Pieter du Preez became South Africa’s newest World Champions in epic races at 2014 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships, which took place in Greenville, South Carolina (USA) from 28 August to 1 September.
“Supapiet” Du Preez was the first to be crowned World Champion during his H1 category 30.6km road race, which comprised three laps in Greenville. The race finished at around 15:20 South African time yesterday, and some local fans were able to witness the victory first hand as the event was live-streamed online.
Following on from a world first finish by a quadriplegic tri-athlete in the Australian Iron Man competition earlier this year, it has been Du Preez's dream to earn the World Champion jersey. It is an achievement only made possible by extraordinary commitment to physical training and mental preparation for the world’s toughest Para-cycling contest.
Using only the strength of his shoulders to propel his bike, Du Preez crossed the finish line in a time of 01:22:33, with Finnish rider Teppo Polvi in second place (01:29:15) and Kiwi Timothy Williams third (01:29:41).
Later on in the day (at 21:00 SA time), Ernst van Dyk made his intentions clear when he beat his arch-rival and current H5 World Champion, Allesandro Zanardi, in a sprint finish to the line after 61.2km of racing. The grand finale event was predicted to be Van Dyk’s toughest ever. Timing his challenge perfectly, Van Dyk used the short uphill climb just before the downhill final straight to power past the Australian, Stuart Tripp. He managed to drop Zanardi from his slipstream in the process. Zanardi had struggled slightly with the climbs during the race. There was nothing to stop the powerful South African from sprinting to victory.
As for du Preez, 2014 has been a perfect year for Van Dyk, who in his racing wheelchair, won his 10th Boston Marathon!
Other excellent performances in the road race were produced by South Africa's Justine Asher who was 1st in her H2 hand-cycle category, and Stuart McCreadie who finished 4th in his extremely competitive H3 class. This is McCreadie's best World Championship performance and follows his bronze medal win in the UCI World Cup in Spain a month ago.
The South African tricyclists Madre Carinus and George Rex finished 5th and 4th in their races respectively. Their teammate, Goldy Fuchs, finished in 9th place, whilst the promising youngster Yusthin Lintnaar was unfortunate to crash very early in the race after colliding with an American rider.
“This best ever World Championship performance by a South African team would not have been possible without the highly professional support provided by the management team,” said Cycling SA Para-cycling Commission Director, Dr Mike Burns. “Team Manager JC van der Walt, National Coach Elrick Kulsen, High Performance Manager Tom Paulsen, Team Mechanic Pieter Jansen and Soigneur Pablo Garcia, ensured that the riders were set up in every way to deliver the results that were achieved.”
Summary of results – Road Race – Monday 1 September 2014
Full race results here: http://www.greenvillesc2014.com/RaceResults.aspx
Men H5 – 6 laps 61.2km – RR
1 Ernst van Dyk (RSA) 01:43:03
2 Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) 01:43:03
3 Tim de Vries (NED) 01:43:06
Men H3 – 6 laps 61.2km – RR
1 Vittorio Podesta (ITA) 01:38:33
2 Heinz Frei (SUI) 01:40:25
3 Walter Ablinger (AUT) 01:41:47
4 Stuart McCreadie (RSA) 01:43:17
Women’s H2 – 3 laps 30.6km – RR
1 Justine Asher (RSA) 01:20:06
Men H1 – 3 laps 30.6km – RR
1 Pieter Du Preez (RSA) 01:22:33
2 Teppo Polvi (FIN) 01:29:15
3 Timothy Williams (NZL) 01:29:41
Men T2 – 3 laps 30.6km – RR
1 Hans-Peter Durst (GER) 00:56:49
2 David Stone (GBR) 00:56:49
3 Giorgio Farroni (ITA) 00:56:49
9 Goldy Fuchs (RSA) 01:04:34
Women’s T2 – 3 laps 30.6km – RR
1 Carol Cooke (AUS) 01:02:43
2 Jill Walsh (USA) 01:10:12
3 Jana Majunke (GER) 01:16:25
5 Madre Carinus (RSA) 01:29:59
Men T1 – 2 laps 20.4km – RR
1 Quentin Aubague (FRA) 00:47:13
2 Jiri Hindr (CZE) 00:49:18
3 Sergey Semochkin (RUS) 00:49:41
4 Gerald George Rex (RSA) 00:52:07