After the first successful World Cup in Maniago, Italy, the South African Para-cycling team departed for Yverdon-Les-Bains for round two of the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Switzerland from 14-16 June.
Passing through the Mont Blanc tunnel en route, the team experienced a dramatic change in weather between Italy, the French Alps and, ultimately, the race venue in Switzerland. Hot sunny weather was exchanged for rainy cold conditions – which luckily cleared as the riders began their familiarisation of the time trial and road race routes in and around Yverdon-les-Bains.
Cycling SA Para-cycling Commission Director, Dr. Mike Burns, shares the detail on the time trial and road race routes. “The time trial route (14.15km) is as flat as a pancake, but has a sneaky accompanying environmental variable – a persistent head-wind affecting the out-ride section of the circuit.
“Whilst general agreement within the team regarding tactics still has to emerge, common sense would seem to suggest that the riders will need to push hard against the head-wind on the out-ride, recover somewhat using the tail-wind for the first part of the back-ride and, finally, push to the limit for the final 2-3 km.
“If the time trial circuit put the riders into a comfortable frame of mind, the same can definitely not be said for the road race circuit. This is a 14.53 km loop, ridden in various multiples by riders in different classes. It includes some killer climbing gradients and tight descending switchbacks; it is without doubt the most difficult circuit selected for a Para-cycling World Cup road race in at least the past 5 years!
“Adrenaline is a critical contribution to winning performances, and it has begun its slow trickle into the riders’ systems as they plan and practice their individual race tactics.”
There are two more days of training before the racing kicks off on Sunday. This is certain to provide a good foundation for the riders to deliver their best. Watch this space!