UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships: Apeldoorn to host the world’s best
The 2015 para-cycling year kicks off in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, with the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships from March 26 – 29. Live action will be available on the UCI YouTube channel on Sunday.
In total, 153 participants from 30 different countries will take to the velodrome over four days of competitions that represent a major step in the qualification process for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Among the nations whose athletes are ones to watch in Apeldoorn are: Australia, Great Britain, China, and the United States. Last year at the World Championships in Aguascalientes (Mexico), Australia finished first in the standings with 17 medals – including 5 gold medals. However, it was Britain’s athletes who won the most World Championship titles, earning a total of seven.
Athletes To Watch
Keep an eye out for impressive performances from these athletes at the Apeldoorn velodrome:
Sarah Storey (Great Britain), C5: In late February 2015, the British cyclist attempted to beat the 45.502 kilometre world hour record of cycling, set by able-bodied Dutch athlete and four-time Olympic Champion Leontien Zijlaard-Moorsel. It was a daunting task, and Storey finished a mere 563 metres short – but still set a national record.
At the 2014 Para Cycling Track World Championships, Storey earned the gold medal in the individual pursuit, after setting a world record in the qualification round. She also earned a gold medal in the scratch race and a bronze medal in the 500m time trial.
Jamie Whitmore Cardenas (United States), C3: Having already set world records in the individual pursuit and 500m time trial at the 2014 Para-cycling Track World Championships, this American para-cyclist once again has her eyes on the top step of the podium.
Jianping Ruan (China) and Susan Powell (Australia), C4: An intense dual is expected between China’s Jianping Ruan and Australia’s Susan Powell. These fierce athletes traded gold and bronze medal positions in the time trial and individual pursuit races in the C4 category in 2014. Ruan obliterated the 500m time trial world record, while Powell did the same in the individual pursuit.
Alyda Norbruis (The Netherlands), C2: It’s a strong bet that spectators will be loudly encouraging this Dutch phenomenon! Just one year ago, Norbruis became double world record holder in the 500m time trial and individual pursuit events in her category.
Neil Fachie and pilot Peter Mitchell (Great Britain), B: This British duo will attempt to repeat their winning performances of 2014; the tandem won both the sprint and kilometre events.
Jozef Metelka (Slovakia), C4: Triple medallist at the 2014 World Championships Metelka won a gold medal in the individual pursuit (setting a world record in qualifications), a silver medal in the kilometre time trial and a silver medal in the scratch race. Metelka has already shown he’s able to reach the podium and may well do so again.
A positive sign that para-cycling continues to develop on a global scale is the fact that 20 countries left the 2014 Para Cycling Track World Championships in Aguascalientes with at least one medal. At those same games, 23 world records were demolished and reset.
In order to maintain this international prestige, nine athletes participated in a development training camp at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland several weeks ago. These para-cyclists were guided by experienced coaches, and a large number of participating athletes may well be headed to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games – a short 18 months away.
The start lists and results can be found on the UCI website.
To find out more about the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, visit the official website for the event, www.paracycling2015.com and follow the competitions on Twitter (@paracycling2015) and Instagram (paracycling2015). Action will be streamed live on tv.uci.ch from 11.25 GMT (12.25 CET) on Sunday March 29.
Para-cycling sport classes
C - Cyclist: conventional bike with some minor adaptations
T - Tricycle: three-wheeled bike
B - Blind: tandem
H - Handbike
Each group is divided into different sport classes depending on the severity of the handicap.