Preview: UCI Paracycling Road Worlds

Preview: UCI Paracycling Road Worlds


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Preview: UCI Paracycling Road Worlds

Story posted August 11; by Barney Storey ( ) |
Event: Baie-Comeau,Canada 17th-22nd Aug

Three Paralympic Gold medallists lead the Great Britain team for the 2010 Paracycling Road World Championships, the first major championships carrying points for London 2012 qualification. It is also to be the first major Championships since the recent classification changes. Mainly affecting riders in the Handcycling and Solo divisions, the new system is similar to the one used in swimming and combines athletes of all disability groups into the same spectrum.

Unlike the old system, which kept the two main disablity groups [brain injuries and locomotive disability] separate and for the handcycling, didn't differentiate between riders who could kneel on their handbike, the new system is said to be based on functional ability.

Rachel Morris, Paralympic Gold medallist for the Road Time Trial in the handcycling divisions will line up as favourite in the H3 class. A last minute classification change under the old system last year, meant Rachel's World Championship challenge was virtually impossible as she had to race riders who were able to kneel on their bikes. After two convincing wins at the Road World Cup in Spain in June and a dominating victory in the National Road Race Championships, Rachel will be looking to do another impressive double.

Joining Rachel in the Handcycling classes will be World Championship debutant, Karen Darke. The Inverness rider has an impressive CV of adventurous expeditions, as well being a successful author and motivational speaker. Karen is also a qualified Hypnotherapist and specialises in Health Coaching. Riding her first international handcycling race for Great Britain at the World Cup in June, Karen placed an impressive third in the H2 class.

David Stone, double Paralympic gold medallist for the Trike Road Race and Road Time Trial, will be looking to build on his form from the World Cup in June with more success in Canada. After struggling with illness and injury during 2009, David looks fit and strong and will line up in a quality field to contend both the Road Time Trial and Road Race.

Sarah Storey is Great Britain's double defending champion from last year's Road Worlds and after a busy season with her road team, Horizon Fitness, will be looking to again reach the top of the podium. Sarah's racing and training schedule changed dramatically this year as she looked to find the extra level that would keep her ahead of her rivals and after an even bigger road training programme which included the End to End ride in June, Sarah has made her professional road racing debut in a one day classic and a four day stage race.

Most recently, her time of 19 minutes and 57 seconds for the 10 mile Time Trial, firmly established her as one of the UK's top Time Triallists, being only the second British woman to get under 20 minutes. After winning the Two Days of Bedford International Stage Race in May, Sarah has followed a steep learning curve in some technical road races, which included the British National Championship where she finished 9th.

Sarah Storey competing in the British Circuit Race Championships.

The new classification system will also change the racing slightly for Sarah, making the class she rides in bigger, thus creating more competition as well as providing some of the other nations with greater numbers. So, for the first time in disability racing, she could find herself up against teams of riders from nations such as China, Australia and USA.

"Obviously the change in the class system creates greater competition and could possibly mean I am riding against teams of riders, but it's a challenge I relish and the thing about Road Racing is that even without teams in a race, it's still a lottery, so it will be good to test myself and all the race options I have to try and win." Storey said.

Paralympic Silver Medallist from the Kilometre Time Trial, Rik Waddon, will be GB's sole representative in the Men's C3 class. Having worked for eventual World Champion, Darren Kenny, in the Road Race last year, Rik will take on the might of the Spanish by himself this year as well as competing in the Road Time Trial. After winning the Road Time Trial at the Road World Cup, Rik has been producing some consistently fast times in domestic club events and hopes to be able to build on his early season form and hold off the challenge from former Tour de France stage winner, Javier Ochoa.

Also riding the Men's solo events, will be Academy riders Shaun McKeown in the C4 class and Russ White in the C5. Like Waddon, both men will face some stiff competition and will be hoping to improve on their results from last year. Russ White finished third at the Nationals, whilst Shaun finished sixth this year and with some solid performances in the domestic club time trials and some early season form in the Rudy Project series, both men will be relishing the opportunity to get stuck in on a hilly circuit which should suit both of their riding styles.

Rebecca Rimmington and Lora Turnham complete the line up for GB in the women's tandem class. Racing last year's Road Worlds after only six weeks together, this classy pair have been going from strength to strength since joining the GB Academy earlier this year. Although Turnham had the tough challenge of finishing her physio degree, the pair have put in some big training miles and this showed in Bilbao's stage race in May where they wiped the floor with the other female tandems.

By the time the Road World Cup came round, the pair were off and flying taking a convincing win in the Road Time Trial and only just missing out in the Road Race. After adding the National title to their growing list of impressive results together, the pair now look to build on their bronze from last year's Championships.

Talking after the selection, team manager Gareth Sheppard spoke about the expectations of the team. "We are not setting specific performance goals, instead we want to ensure that every member of the team, both rider and support staff, has performed to the best of their ability. If after the competition, we can say that, then it will have been a success. If not, we will need to have a long hard look in the mirror and learn and keep building for the Paralympics in London which is the ultimate goal."

Joining Sheppard for the event will be support staff; lead coach Chris Furber, national coaches Tom Stanton and Jayne Ellis, mechanics Martyn Ashfield and Andy Bray and carers Kirsten Henderson and Mark Hall.