Greenville really suits veteran riders! Along with the Italian Alessandro Zanardi and the Swiss Heinz Frei, respective winners in the time trials in the H5 and H3 handbike classes, the American William Groulx got the “Grail” for the first time in his rich career.
The athlete from Portland finished first in the H2 category with a time of 29’28’’31 in front of the Italian Luca Mazzone (29’54’’51) and the Irish rider Mark Rohan (31’16’’53). Having won silver with Team USA in the handbike relay on Friday, behind the “Azzurri” of Mazzone, Groulx obtained his first real triumph at the highest level in para-cycling. After serving as a sailor in the Navy, Groulx had a long career in wheelchair-rugby after a motorcycling accident in 2001. Of Korean origin, he took part in the Paralympic Games in 2004, 2008 and 2012, winning three medals, including gold in Athens. It was after winning a bronze medal in London that he decided to concentrate on para-cycling.
After his victory in the H2 category, Groulx freely expressed his joy: “Everyone here worked very hard during the season to compete with the best, and to get a good result on the day. It’s just fantastic to see that all that work is rewarded with a World Championship title.”
Groulx therefore contributed to the haul of five medals collected on Saturday by the Americans in front of their crowd, resulting in a total of twelve, six of which were in gold.
Apart from the titles gained by Zanardi – who has won two out of three in relation to his objectives – and those of Frei, Germany made a big impression with four “trinkets”, including in the tricycle category by Hans-Peter Durst (T2) and in the Women by Andrea Eskau (H5). Other countries such as France, Poland and South Korea got off the mark in terms of the rainbow jerseys.
On Saturday, the time trial events came to an end. On Sunday and Monday, Greenville will host the road competitions. Heat and humidity are still expected for these two remaining days of the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships.
These events can be viewed “live” on USParalympics.org.
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