Wartburg warmly welcomes TT specialists for SA Road Champs

The 2016 edition of the SA National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships got underway in the farming area of Wartburg in KwaZulu-Natal, presenting warm and humid conditions. Time Trial specialists raced against the clock for the opportunity to be crowned the National Champion in this specialist’s race.

The seemingly gentle route provided its challenges to the competitors with many of the riders talking about the back section and the cruel final kicker hill just before the fast, sweeping downhill to the finish line.

In the Para-cycling competition, multiple Paralympian and multiple World Champion H5 handcyclist, Ernst van Dyk, powered his way to yet another Championship title. “It’s early season now so I’m just doing all the basics right now and building the foundations for the rest of the season. The route was quick, it was fast but there was a lot of climbing too, which was very deceiving since I didn't ride the course beforehand. My focus was the Time Trial because that is the one that I can measure myself, the road race will be fun.”

Celebrity “DJ” Palesa Manaleng (H3) competed in her first National Time Trial after diving into the deep end late last year at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Pietermaritzburg as her first opportunity to race in a Time Trial. Setting the bar high for herself, Manaleng thoroughly enjoyed the KwaZulu-Natal countryside.

“The course wasn't as hard as the World Cup course, but it was faster though. I enjoyed the downhills. Justine passed me and I was so embarrassed but then she is a World Champion,” she laughed. I had a puncture before the start but we fixed it quickly and my ride was event free. I see that I need to do a lot more work and need to ride in more competitions.”

London 2012 Paralympian Stuart McCreadie (H3) has returned to the racing scene after taking a break from competing last year. “Even though I didn't compete, I was still riding a lot and putting in that all-important time on the bike with long rides. Coming back now I feel almost rested from the stresses and strains of competition. Today’s route profile looked rather easy, but that back section required quite a lot of work and the road surface was not that smooth in parts. But it was a nice TT course.”

Cycling SA Para-cycling Commission Director, Dr Mike Burns explained how the National Champs has many functions. “For example, there about five new riders who have just started Para-cycling, so it was nice to see them compete for the first time. I think we’ve got at least two new riders, Gary Coetzee (C4) and Gavin Cowden (C5), who look really competitive today so I’m looking forward to seeing these new riders shape.

“It’s also about team selection for the national team that will compete in the very first UCI World Cup of the season in Pietermaritzburg in May. So we will be making the national team selection based on these results. Thirdly, it’s the very first race on the road to Rio, so it’s incredibly important to see how our Rio Squad riders are looking. It’s from this base that we are going to monitor them, then the World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, and so on.

Burns said that some of the standout performances for him were Coetzee and Cowden, as well as Tricyclist Gerhard Viljoen (T2). It was so unfortunate that his teammate Goldy Fuchs suffered a broken chain as he started his ride because I would’ve loved to have seen them race. I have a lot of hope for Craig Ridgard (C2) for Rio, and of course I was expecting Ernst and Stuart, Pieter du Preez (H1) and Justine Asher (H2 - both double World Champions) to do well as well, which they did.

Racing continues tomorrow in Wartburg with the Elite, U23 and Junior Men Time Trial from 08:30 onwards, plus the Masters’ Men 30-34, 35-39, 40-44 and 45-49 as well as the Para-cycling Road Race, which begins at 11:35. Come and support South Africa’s greatest road cyclists in their quest to be crowned the SA National Road Champion. There is no entry fee to watch this fantastic display of road cycling, but please take note of the road closures and alternative routes in order to get to the race venue timeously.

For further event information, please visit http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-sa-road-champs/

Download the full results here: 2016 Time Trial results - Day 1

Summary of Results - SA National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships – Wednesday 10 February 2016

Men H3 (15km)

1.Stuart McCreadie 21:55
2.Nic Whiteing 30:15

Men C2 (15km)

1.Craig Ridgard 21:56
2.BJ van der Walt 23:40

Men H5 (15km)

1.Ernst van Dyk 22:01
2. Andries Scheepers 25:41

Men T2 (15km)

1.Gerhard Viljoen 25:55

Men H4 (15km)

1.Gysbert van der Niet 28:44
2.Barend Coetzee 30:24

Men H1 (15km)

1.Pieter du Preez 36:56

Men T1 (15km)

1.George Rex 38:18

Men C2/3 (24km)

1.Juan Odendaal 44:10
2.Phillo Verlaat 52:02

Men C4 (24km)

1.Gary Coetzee 40:40
2. Ruben van Niekerk 46:38
3. Attie Botha 50:33

Men C5 (24km)

1.Gavin Cowden 41:47
2.Dane Wilson 42: 21

Women C4 (15km)

1.Vicky Scheepers 24:16

Women C5 (15km)

1.Estelle vd Merwe 25:56

Women H2 (15km)

1.Justine Asher 33:08

Women H3 (15km)

1.Palesa Manaleng 46:54

Women T1 (15km)

1.Toni Mould 52: 33