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Road to 2012: Para-Cycling Road World Cup
Sydney, 4-6 May 2011
Above: Karen Darke, just one of the GB stars in action in Sydney
British Para-Cycling riders hit the road in qualification race for London Paralympics this week. Having scooped 18 medals and vital qualification points at the Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Italy in March, the focus of the GB Para-Cycling Team this week is once again on the qualification race for the London Paralympic Games.
A team of nine British riders are in Sydney this week for the opening round of the 2011 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup which will kick off the international para-cycling road racing season between 4-6 May.
Competing in both the Road Race and the Time Trial will be Russ White and Sarah Storey in the C5 category, Jody Cundy (C4), Rik Waddon (C3), David Stone (T2), Karen Darke (H2), Rachel Morris (H3) and Lora Turnham in the B/Vi category, piloted by Fiona Duncan.
Chris Furber, Lead Para-Cycling Coach, said: "The Sydney World Cup is a vital event in the qualification race for places at the London Paralympic Games. There are three World Cups in the series of which the best two will count towards London 2012.
"We have selected a small but strong team for the event as only one rider can qualify points for their country in each category. With many European riders missing from Sydney, this World Cup is a perfect opportunity to maximise qualification points ahead of the Spanish round next month."
The Road Race will be held on Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 May on a highly technical flat closed circuit at the Eastern Creek International Raceway over three to 12 laps.
The Time Trial will take place on Friday 6 May at the Sydney Olympic Park, home of the 2000 Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games, on a highly technical flat circuit of 6.1km with races varying between two and four laps.
In the C5 category, Russ White will look to take advantage of the small men's field and put the disappointment of the 2010 Road World Championships, where he came 6th in the Road Race and 18th in the Time Trial, behind him. He will be up against World and Paralympic Champion Michael Gallager from Australia and a strong Italian team fronted by the legendary Fabio Triboli.
In the C4 category, Jody Cundy will continue his foray into endurance events after picking up two golds and silver at the Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Italy earlier this year. Looking for revenge after Italy will be Kilo bronze medallist Jiri Bouska from the Czech Republic and Michele Pittacolo from Italy, TT bronze medallist from last year's Road World Championships will also be a threat to Cundy.
In the C3 category, Rik Waddon, winner of the TT at last year's World Cup in Spain, will look to continue his good form on the road but will face a tough opponent in Roberto Bargna from Italy, silver medallist in the Road Race at last year's Road World Championships.
David Stone, current double World Champion in the T2 category, will once again measure his form against World Silver Medallist Georgio Farroni from Italy. David will be riding a new trike at the event.
Sarah Storey, current double World Champion in the C5 category, will look for two wins in Sydney. Trying to stop her will be Greta Neminas from USA who won bronze in the TT at the 2010 Road World Championships.
Another double World Champion from Canada last year, hand-cyclists Rachel Morris (H3) will once again look to dominate. Susan Reid from New Zeland, who won bronze in the TT at the 2010 World Road Championships, will be her biggest competition.
Having narrowly missed out on podium at the 2010 Road World Championships in Canada, Karen Darke (H2) will be desperate for podium finishes in both events. Her chances will be improved with Swiss World Champion Ursula Schwaller missing from Sydney but she will have a tough opponent in Marianne Davies from USA, TT silver medallist in last year's Road World Championships.
Lora Turnham (B/Vi), winner of the TT in last year's World Cup, will team up with new pilot Fiona Duncan with whom she won silver in the Pursuit with at the recent Para-Cycling Track World Championships. The British tandem will face a very tough field in Sydney with the presence of Canadian World Road Race Champion Robbie Weldon, piloted by Lyne Bressette, and World Pursuit Champion Jayne Parsons, piloted by Sonia Waddell from New Zealand.
Follow the team
The Para-Cycling Road World Cup is a three event series which will head to Spain next (10-12 June) and conclude in Canada (8-10 July), acting as a qualifying series for the 2011 Para-Cycling Road World Championships which will be held in Denmark on 8-11 September.
Visit http://www.uci.ch/templates/UCI/UCI2/layout.asp?MenuId=MTU4ODg&LangId=1 for more information about the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup series.
Follow our Twitter updates @bcreports and visit our website to find out how the British Team gets on in competition.