Team South Africa swept their fans off their feet during the road races in the Alexandra Park precinct this Saturday, in Pietermaritzburg. The second day of this season’s last UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup event brought them no fewer than four gold medals and one bronze.
South African Nicolas Pieter du Preez, H1 Class champion titleholder and ranking leader, added one more win to his perfect performance, finishing the 18.5k race in 54 minutes 15 seconds. He has won every single race he has entered since the beginning of this season. Third in the time trials, Finnish Teppo Polvi moved up the ladder and snatched a silver medal in the road race, finishing 54 seconds behind the winner. After not making podium on Friday, Swiss Benjamin Frueh climbed onto the third step this time around, despite crossing the finish line 4 minutes 17 seconds after the gold medallist.
South African veteran Ernst Van Dyk, third in the H5 time trials, made strides in the road race and finished first, after completing the 55.4k in 1 hour 43 minutes 11 seconds and beating Friday’s gold medallist, Dutch Tim De Vries. Australian Stuart Tripp completed the podium.
In the T2 Class, fellow South African Goldy Fuchs defeated German Hans-Peter Durst, Friday’s gold medallist and overall ranking leader, at the very end of the race. Both para-cyclists completed the 24.6 kilometers in 45 minutes 43 seconds. American Ryan Boyle got the bronze in this class.
Justine Asher came away with South Africa’s fourth gold medal, repeating her results from Friday, in the H2 Class.
The last South African on the podium was Gerald George Rex, who came in third in the T1 Class. In a repeat from Friday’s time trials, he was beaten by Russian Sergey Semochkin and Swedish Rickard Nilsson.
But South Africa was not the only country to shine – Germany finished the competition with five medals of its own: two gold, two silver, and one bronze.
After almost making podium on Friday, Germany’s Vico Merklein didn’t miss his chance to make it up this time around. He won the H4 road race after covering the 55.4k in 1 hour 31 minutes 46 seconds, just ahead of Polish Rafal Wilk, overall ranking leader and time trial gold medallist on Friday. Belgian Jonas Van De Steene, second on Friday, came in third the day after.
The time trial scenario reproduced itself for the H4 Class women, with German Christiane Reppe, overall ranking leader, defeating Swiss Sandra Graf and Russian Svetlana Moshkovich.
Competition was fierce among the H3 Class men. After having to content himself with third place in the time trials, Belgian Jean François Deberg refused to be beaten on Saturday. He took the lead in the 55.4k race and finished it with a sprint (1 hour 36 minutes 40 seconds). German Max Weber slid onto the second step of the podium, while Swiss Heinz Frei, time trial first, made it in third place.
In the H5, Dutch Laura De Vaan exacted revenge on German Dorothee Vieth, who had come in first in the time trials.
Australian Carol Cooke’s one-two confirmed her domination over the time trials and the road race. She brought the road race stopwatch to a stop at 40 minutes 35 seconds – 1 minute 27 seconds ahead of American Jill Walsh and 2 minutes 10 seconds before German Jana Majunke.
Lots of action in the H2 Class! American William Groulx triumphed for the second time this weekend, after winning Friday’s time trials. He covered the 24.6k in 49 minutes 07 seconds, in his fourth World Cup victory this season. Swiss Tobias Fankhauser (50 minutes 45 seconds) and Israeli Yaakov Kobi Lion (52 minutes 24 seconds) came in second and third, respectively, in a repeat from the time trials. Lion was subsequently disqualified for taking a shortcut, albeit unintentionally.
Canadian Shelley Gauthier, T1 champion titleholder, and American Alicia Dana (H3) also came in first twice this weekend.
On UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup’s last day this Sunday, we’ll be seeing the road races in classes C 1 to 5, the handbike team relay, as well as the tandem races.