The SA National Para-cycling Championships, part of the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled, presented by SASAPD (South African Sport Association for the Physically Disabled), takes place in Durban from Monday 26th to Wednesday 28th March 2012.

The three days of cycling incorporate a flat track series of races for the juniors, and a time trial and road race for both the junior and senior categories. Para-cyclists will start in batches determined by both their age categories and their classification (H1-4; T1-2; C1-5 and VI).

South Africa’s finest para-cyclists are set to provide us with challenging racing as they tussle for the championship titles.

One such athlete is World Champion hand cyclist Ernst van Dyk, who recently left his day job to concentrate full-time on his preparations for the Paralympics at the end of August. It is still early days for Van Dyk, who is very much in a base training phase: “I need to be ready to peak for August and yet still race the World Cups in between, so I am working towards that. It is nice to have less stress and the chance to recover after training, which is very important.”

The flat 5-kilometre course in Durban will produce blood and sweat as the athletes attempt to outclass each other in the road race and time trial. When asked whether the course would suit him, Van Dyk responded, “Not really, there is nothing to differentiate the guys, and we will probably all stay together and it (the race) will end in a sprint. This is the first National Champs where we will have full road closure, so I am very happy about that.”

Racing will be exciting as Van Dyk professes that he is not in peak condition, and that fellow competitors Andries Scheepers (who beat him in the Pick n Pay Cape Argus Cycle Tour) and Stuart MacReadie will give him a solid run for his money. “It would be great to clock 42km/hr in the Time Trial, but let’s see,” says Van Dyk.

The Tricycle category is also set to deliver some enthralling racing with tough competition between Riaan Nel, Goldie Fuchs and Gerhard Viljoen.

The 5km route starts and finishes on the Battery Beach Road near the Kings Park Swimming Pool. Para-cyclists will head out east under the M4 bridge and then turn left into Snell Parade until they reach Athlone Drive. The return to the finish line will be along NMR Road.