Powerfully inspirational action at Para-cycling opening

Cool and windy conditions greeted Para-cyclists representing 25 countries today for the Time Trial events that kicked off the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup at Midmar Dam in Friday, 11 September.

The competition started at 08:30 with the visually impaired tandem cyclists taking to the 8km loop as the first of five classes to compete in the first session, where they were required to complete three laps totaling 24km. This was followed by another eight classes in the second session whereby riders had to complete 2 laps of the course (16km) before the lunch break.

Great Britain’s Stephen Bate and Adam Duggleby claimed the gold medal in the Men’s B class after completing 3 laps (24km) in 29:49.58. They relished the cool conditions and were surprised at securing the victory.

“Although we knew that we had paced it very well, we didn't really know how well we had gone, we were hoping for a medal,” said Bate. “We were being told on the road where we were in position to the other bikes so we knew we had gone all right but it was a complete surprise to win gold here today. It’s pretty amazing really.

“I guess these were British conditions so we were very lucky today. This year we have raced in really high temperatures, which doesn't really suit us so much. I think the course and the conditions really suited us today and the results show that. There were some quality riders out there so it is nice to come out on top.”

Australia claimed two gold medals with Alistair Donohoe and Kyle Bridgwood winning their respective Men’s C5 and C4 races.

South Africa born Bridgwood has been racing for the past three years and wasn’t quite sure how to approach the race today. “It was very tough going out and then coming back was obviously easier with the tail wind. The combination of the steep climb into the head wind made it exceptionally tough.”

Joining their male counterparts on the top step of the podium was Great Britain’s Lora Turnham and Corrine Hall who claimed victory in the Women’s B race in 34:44.15, just 0.09 seconds ahead of the silver medallists Odette van Deudekom and Kim van Dijk (NED). Third place went to Canadians Robbi Weldon and Audrey Lemieux.

Cycling South Africa’s Para-cycling Commission Director, Mike Burns, was happy with the team’s morning session. “It has been a nice day, with good infrastructure and well organized. The morning sessions are pretty much how I expected them to be. Some riders were competing internationally for the first time and there were some good performances.

“Our two track riders – Dane Wilson and Juan Odendaal – were using this to prepare for the forthcoming track event in Manchester to get used to that adrenalin rush that you get from competing in a UCI competition and they both did well.”

The second session saw USA claim three gold medals and two silvers and South Africa claim their first medal when tricyclist Goldy Fuchs finished third in the Men’s T2 race.

“The race went really well – I just went out there and gave it my best,” said Fuchs. “It was a little bit cold today, but I’m used to that because I’m from Cape Town. That also helps because I am quite used to the hills and the climbs.

Alem Mumuni from Ghana was thrilled to be competing in the event, a first for the African continent. “It’s amazing for Africa to have hosted a World Cup. It’s sad for me because it’s my first competition after a year after being ill. I am working vividly to get back.”

Mumuni feels strongly about Africa’s need to recognise the contribution that disabled persons make to a society. “Africans need to realise that people with disabilities are equal in all ways to those of able bodied people. We can rise to the pinnacle of life if given the right chances. This way we can also contribute towards the development of our nations if given the chance.”

Mayor of uMgungundlovu Municipality, Councillor Yusuf Bhamjee, spoke of how humbling the race experience was to watch. “It makes one feel overwhelmed by the awesome nature in which these athletes are taking command of their life. It reminds me of the Spirit of Madiba who said “triumph of the human spirit,” and this is what it is all about. I think I have fallen in love with this event. It makes me begin to wonder how many more people are making it happen. It reminds me of the old saying, ‘I cried when I had no shoes until I met somebody with no feet.’”

On South Africa hosting a World Cup leg again next year as well as the Para-cycling Road World Champs in 2017, Bhamjee said: “Please come to South Africa, come to this place. The South African people are warm, they are generous.”

Summary of results – 2015 Para-cycling Road World Cup Pietermaritzburg

For the full list of results, visit http://www.cyclingsa.com/2015-uci-para-road-world-cup/

Session 1

Men’s B TT (24km – 3laps)
1.Stephen Bate/Adam Duggleby (GBR) 29:49.58
2.Aaron Scheides/Benjamin Collins (USA) 30:00.25
3.Carlos Gonzalez Garcia/Noel Martin Infante (ESP) 30:03.89

Men’s C5 TT (24km – 3laps)
1.Alistair Donohoe (AUS) 31:49.26
2.Wolfgang Eibeck (AUT) 32:24.29
3.Daniel Abraham Gebru (NED) 32:32.80

Men’s C4 TT (24km – 3laps)
1.Kyle Bridgwood (AUS) 32:29.70
2.Jozef Metelka (SVK) 32:42.57
3.Patrik Kuril (SVK) 33:00.63

Men’s C3 TT (24km – 3laps)
1.Steffen Warias (GER) 34:22.12
2.Eduardo Santas Asensio (ESP) 34:49.68
3.Sergey Ustinov (RUS) 35:12.51

Women’s B TT (24km – 3laps)
1.Lora Turnham/Corrine Hall (GBR) 34:44.15
2.Odette van Deudekom/Kim van Dijk (NED) 34:44.24
3.Robbi Weldon/Audrey Lemieux (CAN) 36:09.86

Session 2

Women’s C5 (16km – 2laps)
1.Anna Harkowska (POL) 25:18.78
2.Nicole Clermont (CAN) 25:46.86
3.Kerstin Brachtendorf (GER) 25:52.64

Women’s C4 (16km – 2laps)
1.Shawn Morelli (USA) 25:44.44
2.Susan Powell (AUS) 26:43.08
3.Marie-Claude (CAN) 27:19.75

Men’s C2 (16km – 2laps)
1.Arslan (Gilmutdinov (RUS) 23:59.55
2.Maurice Eckhard (ESP) 24:06.31
3.Ivo Koblasa (Independent) 24:13.31

Women’s C3 (16km – 2laps)
1.Jamie Whitmore Cardenas (USA) 26:19.81
2.Simone Kennedy (AUS) 30:42.54

Men’s C1 (16km – 2laps)
1.Michael Teuber (GER) 25:06.49
2.Juan Jose Mendez (ESP) 25:49.23
3.Arnoud Nijhuis (NED) 26:27.67

Women’s C2 (16km – 2laps)
1.Allison Jones (USA) 29:10.62
2.Tereza Diepoldova (Independent) 30:20.04
3.Sally Hurst (GBR) 32:06.08

Men’s T2 (16km – 2laps)
1.Hans-Peter Durst (GER) 28:33.35
2.Ryan Boyle (USA) 29:13.39
3.Goldy Fuchs (RSA) 30:14.54

Women’s T2 (16km – 2laps)
1.Carol Cooke (AUS) 31:58.15
2.Jill Walsh (USA) 34:04.08
3.Jana Majunke (GER) 35:47.53