As we move into our final few weeks of event preparations for the 2017 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, national teams from across the globe are fine tuning their last training elements ahead of the prestigious event, which takes place from 31 August to 3 September. Team Sweden in particular, will see four Para-cyclists across four different classes competing for top honours in their categories, and the chance to win the coveted World Championship title and Rainbow Jersey.
The commanding Swedish team includes three Paralympians: Rickard Nilsson (MT1), Henrik Marvig (MC3) and Peter Malmberg (MH4), and World Championships first-timer Anna Beck (WC3).
Malmberg and Nilsson formed part of the initial 2016 Swedish Paralympic Team, and are ready to bring their Paralympic experiences to Africa’s Bike City at the end of the month. Marvig, who broke multiple bones in both his legs in a motorcycle accident in 2003, began Para-cycling in 2008 and was also awarded a late entry into the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
29-year-old Nilsson will look to achieve the same sort of results in the World Championships as he has done so far this season in the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cups in Belgium and The Netherlands. He claimed three gold medals and one silver medal in the two competitions, winning both Time Trials and the Road Race in Belgium, and finishing second in the Road Race in The Netherlands.
This will be Beck’s first trip to South Africa, let alone first World Championship competition, and she is looking forward to both elements of the experience. The 38-year-old has delivered outstanding results by raking up four silver medals in two World Cups, where she claimed second place results in both Time Trials and Road Races in Belgium and The Netherlands in her class this year.
Swedish Cycling Federations’ Emma Stenberg said that preparations are full steam ahead for the team’s trip to the country. “The team is really looking forward to the competitions and preparing at home in Sweden at the moment,” she said.
Because each of the athletes are competing in completely different classes, it’s challenging for the team to find suitable training sessions to do together. They have their own individual training programmes to adhere to and each member lives in a different part of Sweden. “It's only a few times at World Cups or special occasions that they get to train together,” she added.
When chatting about their objectives from Championships, Stenberg said: “We are hoping for great, challenging races. Of course, it would be even better to hear our national anthem one, or a few more times,” she laughed.
With the racing aside, the team would also like to explore more of South Africa in their spare time, and are hoping to see wildlife that they don’t see in Sweden.
For more information about the 2017 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships, go to: https://www.cyclingsa.com/2017-uci-para-road-world-champs/
For more information about Para-cycling, please visit http://www.uci.ch/para-cycling/.