South African C3 track para-cyclist, Juan Odendaal will be taking part in the 2017 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in the city of Carson, Los Angeles, California from 2-5 March.
Odendaal will be riding in three events at the championships, and is feeling confident about his form and preparation leading up to it. “Form wise I think everything is really looking good because of Road champs last week,” he said.
He claimed the gold medal and much acclaimed National Champion Jersey in both the Time Trial and Road Race in the Men’s C3 category. “I had a great Road champs. It has helped me to set a good base Worlds, and data shows it so I'm happy,” he added.
Although feeling like he could improve “here and there” in terms of bike, but he’s hoping to have it all come together in the next week. He said: “I'm very motivated, and have a feeling that this could be a good Worlds and a huge improvement from last year, as long as we progress to the end goal.”
Through insights from and discussions with various other track athletes, Odendaal has heard that the track is a quick one, which will help him in his 1km Time Trial and Scratch events.
Odendaal heads off on 26 February with Team Manager, Corne Bence, which leaves him ample time to recuperate from jetlag and the flight. “I’m young, so I really still enjoy long travels and flights, I just hope I can rest well before the Championships,” he added.
Cycling South Africa’s Para-cycling Commission Director, Estelle van der Merwe, is very confident that Odendaal will make the country proud. “He’s been training very hard – and personally I think this could be the best form he’s ever been in,” she said.
Van der Merwe also mentioned how lucky Odendaal was to have such incredible family and friend support. “He’s also been getting some pointers from Paralympian Dane Wilson, and he’s very determined to excel,” she added.
Both van Der Merwe joked about the concept of flying for eight hours to California, only to arrive in the ‘past’ and returning to South Africa in the ‘future’.
“I’m really proud of what he has accomplished so far and really looking forward to the World Champs,” she concluded.
To see the programme schedule, click here: http://www.uci.ch/mm/Document/News/News/18/16/83/10.02.2017ProgrammeLosAngeles_Neutral.pdf
For more information about the 2017 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, see the information bulletin here: http://www.uci.ch/mm/Document/News/News/18/15/48/23.12.2016_CMPara_Piste_Informationbulletin-LA2017_Neutral.pdf