Dutch powerhouse Jetze Plat added further success to his burgeoning palmares with victory today in the 2021 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships at the Circuito Estoril in Cascais, Portugal. Plat, who turned 30 yesterday (10 June), celebrated in style by storming to victory in the MH4 25.2km time trial. Incredibly, the win came just one week after the versatile Plat won gold at the World Triathlon Series in Leeds, England.
Pre-race favourite Plat rolled out an average speed of 42.65km/hr as he stormed to gold in 35:27mins, beating second-placed Thomas Fruhwirth of Austria by 35s. Fruhwirth’s countryman Alexander Gritsch rounded out the podium in 37:01.
But all the talk was about Plat, whose list of achievements is growing by the season. We once asked him what his greatest achievement was. His answer highlighted the breadth of his victorious CV. “The triathlon gold medal I won in Rio, my handcycling UCI Hour Record [of 44.749km set in 2019], winning Ironman Hawaii in 2017… sorry, it’s hard to choose!”
What’s clear is that the Dutch athlete remains unbeaten in triathlon since 2016 and continues to shine in hand-cycling.
Plat, who like his contemporaries, spent 2020 without the motivation of competition, looked stronger than ever. He is one focused individual.
Plat’s race-winning exploit was one of the highlight of a memorable day for the Dutch team who racked up four gold medals. Plat’s compatriot, Mitch Valize, added to the tally with victory in the MH5 time trial. Valize’s time of 36:01 proved too much for France’s Loic Vergnaud,who claimed silver (36:23) and Ireland’s Gary O’Reilly in third (37:56).
Later in the day, Chantal Haenen and Jennette Jansen enjoyed further success. Haenen won the WH5 16.8km time trial in 28:59 with Italy’s Maria Vitelaru and Katia Aere in second and third respectively. Shortly afterwards, 53-year-old Jennette Jansen, whose sporting background includes athletics and wheelchair basketball, proved too strong for RPC’s Svetlana Moshkovich in the WH4 16.8km time trial. Switzerland’s Sandra Graf collected bronze.
So, the day was dominated by orange? Not quite, as, incredibly, Italy eclipsed their quartet of victories with seven of their own. On the day their football team kicked off Euro 2020 against Turkey, Giorgio Farroni started things off with victory in the MT1 16.8km time trial. More success followed in the shape of Roberta Amadeo in the WH2 category, then Simona Canipara in the WH1 category.
Italy’s Paolo Cecchetto won his second gold medal of the championships thanks to a sparkling time of 37:59 in the MH3 25.2km time trial, faster than a packed and competitive field of 26. the 53-year-old claimed victory by 36s over Spain’s Luis Miguel Garcia-Marquina Cascallana, who was 16s clear of Germany’s Vico Merklein. Both athletes won silver and bronze medals, respectively, in day one’s team relay. Then, as the sun began to sink in the sky, Fabrizio Cornegliani, Francesca Porcellato and Luca Mazzone rode to victory in the MH1, WH3 categories and MH2 categories, respectively.
It was Germany’s time to shine in the WT2 16.8km time trial, where Angelika Dreock-Kaser’s time of 33:31 was good enough to stay clear – just – of silver-medallist and countrywoman Jana Majunke (33:38). America’s Jill Walsh completed the podium. Meanwhile, Joan Reinoso Figuerola looked in imperious form in the MT2 race, crossing the line in 28:33. America’s Matthew Rodriguez and Dennis Connors collected silver and bronze.
Finally, there was only ever going to be one result in the WT1 category as Canada’s Shelley Gautier earned the 17th UCI World title of her incredible career. It was her ninth time trial victory.
Another day to remember at the Circuito Estoril in Cascais, Portugal. Three days down, two more action-packed days to come. The 2021 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships start again at 10am tomorrow (Saturday 12 June) with the MB 117.6km road race.
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