Cape Town’s Justine Asher was South Africa’s shining light at the UCI Para-cycling World Cup in Maniago, Italy at the weekend.
Competing in the H3 hand cycle category, Asher picked up double gold… in both the time trial and road races.
‘I got gold in both time trial and road race held in sweltering conditions, as well as the World Cup leader’s jersey, so I’m super chuffed,’ she told Road to Rio 2016 from Italy.
‘New competition emerging in the women’s H2 class has made competing even more challenging and exciting so I’m looking forward to my next World Cup in Germany in July and and then World Championships in Switzerland.
‘We had today to explore the sights, sounds and taste of Italy in the ancient city of Pordenone.’
Asher clocked 39min 25sec for the 14.2-kilometre race, beating Dutch cyclist Carmen Koedood by 1:49. The previous day had seen her win the time trial in 33:28.44 from Korea’s Mikyoung Jeon, who was more than 30min in arrears.
In the men’s H5 road race 2012 Paralympic silver medallist Ernst van Dyk had an off-day ending ninth in 1:56:20 as Holland’s Tim de Vries won in 1:51:59.
The previous day had seen Van Dyk get fifth in the time trial with a time of 44:13.67 as former Formula One race driver won in 39:48.30.
Commenting on his road race a disappointed Van Dyk said: ‘Dropped and jammed my chain after lap one on the cobbles.
Had to stop and wait for neutral assistance to help me out. Lost around 40 sec which grew to two minutes very quickly. For the next 50km I chased as hard as I could and with two laps to go I had the gap down to 40sec but then the peloton picked up the pace, setting up for the final sprint around the same time I hit the wall.
‘I’ll regroup, recover and get ready for round two in 10 days. Thanks to team USA for helping me out with some splits around the rout keeping me informed.’
On the time trial he was brutally honest: ‘I rode the numbers I was aiming for but when all was said and done it became clear those numbers need adjustment!’
But Goldy Fuchs got onto the podium in the men’s T2, clocking 53:27 as Italy’s Carlo Calcagni won in 50:08. Gerhard Viljoen, also a 2012 London Paralympian, was 10th in the same race (56:05).
The C2 time trial saw Craig Ridgard end in 19:32.57 for fourth place, one spot off the podium places.
The next World Cup will be hosted by Yverdon-les-Bains in Switzerland from 14-16 June.