The Great Britain Para-cycling Team will begin their journey towards qualification for the 2016 Paralympic Games on 9-11 May as an 11-rider team travels to the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Castiglione Della Pescaia in Italy.
The team features a blend of Paralympic podium, academy and development programme athletes, who will all take part in time-trial and road race events across three days of competition.
The team comprises Brian Alldis, Karen Darke, Jon Gildea, Rhiannon Henry (piloted by Lauryn Therin), Shaun McKeown, Simon Price, Louis Rolfe, David Stone and Lora Turnham (piloted by Corrine Hall).
Alldis and Darke will represent Great Britain in the hand cycle events, Alldis in H4 and Darke in H3. Gildea, McKeown, Price and Rolfe all compete in the cycling class (C) while Turnham and Henry take part in the B class for blind and visually impaired athletes. David Stone is the team’s sole representative in the Tricycle class (T).
"It's the first event that qualifies towards the 2016 Paralympics from a road perspective so we've selected a team that represents our road pathway towards the Paralympic Games,” said Great Britain para-cycling performance manager Gareth Sheppard.
"You've got the two current world champions there with David Stone and Laura Turnham and other podium athletes like Karen Darke and Shaun McKeown.
"We've got our academy group like Brian Alldis and Simon Price,” continued Sheppard, “but we've also got some new faces for whom this will be their first world cup competition, people who are trying to get some vital experience in the build-up to the Paralympics and at the same time qualify some points.
"Our academy athletes are looking to make that step up to podium performances. So Brian and Simon fall into that category, as does Rhiannon Henry. It's her first world cup so it's a real opportunity on the road to show how her partnership with Lauryn Therin is developing.
"You've got Louis Rolfe who's 17-years-old and in his first major international competition and John Gildea; both riders on our para-cycling development squad who've earned the opportunity to go and experience top-class international competition and really show us what they can do on that world stage."
The venue for the event is the picturesque coastal town of Castiglione Della Pescaia in the Grosseto province of Tuscany.
The time-trial will be run on a 15km out and back course on the coast south east of the town centre, while the road race events will be held on an 8.1km town centre circuit.
"It's a very tight, twisting road course with very little change in elevation so there'll be very competitive group finishes for those events,” said Sheppard.
Following Castiglione Della Pescaia the UCI Para-cycling World Cup moves on to Cantimpalos, Segovia, Spain for the second round in late July before the road world championships in Greenville, USA from 28 August – 1 September 2014.
- Lora Turnham piloted by Corrine Hall - B
- David Stone – T2
- Shaun Mckeown – C3
- Karen Darke – H3
- Brian Alldis – H4
- Rhiannon Henry piloted by Lauryn Therin - B
- Simon Price – C2
- Louis Rolfe – C2
- Jon Gildea – C5