Paralympics: Ernst up against former GP ace

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(AP) — The world’s top riders descend on famous British motor circuit Brands Hatch at the Paralympics on Wednesday. And six of them will be South African – the entire SA squad will be in time trial action on the first day of the road cycling category.

The six riders are Ernst van Dyk, Stuart McCreadie, Gerhard Viljoen, Jaco Nel, Roxy Burns and Madre Carinus.

Distances range from eight to 16 kilometres. “The course takes in about 4km of the actual motor racing circuit and then also winds on to other little roads,” said team cycling coach Ricky Kulsen on Tuesday.

Kulsen thinks medals will not be easy to come by but backs six-time Paralympian Ernst van Dyk to be Team SA’s best crack at a medal “probably in the bronze/silver region”.

One world famous entrant and a man who should feel quite at home at Brands Hatch will be Alex Zanardi.

The 45-year-old Italian Formula One driver lost both his legs in a horrific crash in 2001. He then took up hand-cycling and will come up against Van Dyk on Wednesday.

“Alex was at training this week with a state-of-the-art handbike, custom-made and designed by BMW,” said Kulsen. “You have to see this bike to believe it.”

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