The last day of competition at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Greenville (USA) was devoted to the road races for the handbike and tricycle athletes.
The host nation added three silver medals to its overall tally with Alicia Delsford Brana (WH3), William Groulx (MH2) and Jill Walsh (WT2). USA finishes the Worlds with a total of 18 medals (9 gold, 6 silver, 3 bronze) followed by Germany with 14 medals (7 gold, 3 silver, 4 bronze) and Italy with 13 medals (6 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze).
One of the much-awaited duals on the last day of competition was in the Men’s H5 road race between Italy’s Alex Zanardi, first in the time trial a few days earlier, and South African Ernst Van Dyk, gold medallist at the Beijing Paralympics and second behind Zanardi in London 2012.
After a nail-biting race it was the South African who claimed the world title, recording the same time (1h43.03) as his Italian rival over the 61.2km course: “No words,” wrote Van Dyk on Twitter after his victory. “Just thankful to all the people who made this happen. We have a rainbow jersey!”
The world title caps an impressive year for this veteran handcylist and wheelchair athlete: in April he won his 10th Boston Marathon.
It was a similar scenario for French athlete Joël Jeannot in the MH4 road race. Also second in the time trial, Jeannot snatched the road race title from Germany’s Vico Merklein (2nd) and Poland’s Arkadiusz Skrzypinski. All three clocked the same time of 1h38.08.
Not all the racing was so close, however. One of the most clear-cut wins of the day was in the Women’s T2 road race, which saw defending champion Carol Cooke (Australia) cover the 30.6km in 1h02.43. She had to wait 7 minutes 29 seconds to congratulate her runner-up, Jill Walsh (USA). Germany’s Jana Majunke finished third a further six minutes back.
“I had such a good ride during the ITT that I didn’t think it would be possible to have two perfect rides,” declared the winner. “It was an amazing feeling to realise that I had just won another World Championships title!”
In total, 13 gold medals were awarded on the last day of competition. Germany and South Africa both won three gold medals, followed by Italy and France with two each, and one gold medal each for Poland, Australia and Canada.
Full results of the 2014 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships can be found on the UCI website.
The 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships will be held in Nottwil, Switzerland July 28 – August 2.
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.