Rio 2016 paralympian Goldy Fuchs will fly the South African flag in two European events in the next few weeks.
The 26-year-old will compete in the para-cycling road World Cup competition in Emmen in the Netherlands from July 6 to 8, and in the para-cycling road world championships in Maniago, Italy, from August 2 to 5.
Fuchs, who left on Tuesday evening, will line up for the time-trial tomorrow morning and road race on Saturday.
“I have only three weeks between the World Cup and the world championships, but I’m confident that my new coach, Katia Esterhuizen, has prepared me well,” he said this week.
“It will be my first time in the Netherlands and I’m excited.”
It was important for him to compete in at least one of the World Cup events to compare his standards with those of other riders before the world championships, he explained.
The competition in his class, T2, was tough and he expected the other riders to go hard from the start. “I’ll try my best to stay at the front and, if possible, out-sprint them to the finish.”
Riding in his first international event only in the middle of the year was a disadvantage because most of his competitors participated in World Cup races in Belgium.
“I only had one race in Europe last year,” he said. “It’s always a challenge to ride on those narrow roads and cobbled sections through small towns, especially in Italy. Back home, I have only wide open roads to train on.
“I will try to go hard into the sections that suit me. The others will have the same challenges on the narrow and cobbled sections.”
Fuchs, who has had to self-fund his trips, was financially unable to compete in the first World Cup race in Belgium in May.
“I hope to do well in Emmen and to finish at least in the top five in Italy, because that is what is required to get financial assistance from Sascoc (SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee).”
The five-time UCI World Cup gold medallist and 2016 World Cup series winner lost his father and suffered serious head injuries in a road accident when he was five months old.
“I started cycling in 2003, at the age of 12, and achieved, for several years, provincial colours for cycling, swimming and athletics,” Fuchs said.
Since 2010, he has competed internationally in 13 UCI para-cycling road World Cup events, four para-cycling road world championships and the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, where he finished ninth. He has won ten medals in international competitions.
“I’m passionate about cycling,” he says. “I’m working very hard to become the best T2 cyclist in the world.”
His ultimate goal is to win a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
His advice to younger athletes is: “If you want to achieve something in life or have big dreams, you have to work hard and be dedicated. Never give up on any of your dreams.”