What’s at stake in 2016
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games kick off in less than 130 days. But before focusing on Brazil, many of the planet’s top para-cyclists will converge on Pietermaritzburg. The South African city will host the first round of this season’s UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup from May 6th to 8th. Pietermaritzburg, which organised a round of the UCI World Cup for the first time in 2015, will host the discipline’s road World Championships in 2017.
The first day of competition will be devoted to the handbike mixed team relay. The time trials will take place on Saturday and the road races on Sunday. Some 75 athletes from 20 countries have registered.
As it’s a Paralympic year, there will be fewer rounds of this World Cup in 2016 than in 2015, but they will be no less important, especially for those wishing to be in the medals in Rio in September.
The two other events on the calendar of the 2016 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup are in Ostend, Belgium (May 20-22) and Pays Basque, Spain (July 15-17).
What you should know about Ernst Van Dyk
The South African star Ernst Van Dyk excels not only in road para-cycling but also in wheelchair athletics. During his career, the gold medallist in the road race at the Beijing 2008 Games (HC C) has also won prestigious marathons, including Boston (10 victories), New York (two victories) and Paris (one victory). At the Pietermaritzburg round of last year’s UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup, Van Dyk delighted his supporters with his victory in the H5 road race and third place in the time trial.
Focus on Justine Asher
Also a member of the South African team, Justine Asher will be one of the favourites in the H2 category. The 2015 season was perfect for this athlete who won all six of the World Cup races she competed in, as well as claiming the time trial and road race world titles. She was also unbeaten in 2014.
Justine Asher started para-cycling in 2013. During her first World Cup that same year, she fractured her two feet in an accident. Since her return to competition after convalescence, she has remained unbeaten on the international scene.
Watch the event live here.