Great Britain para-cycling road squad ready for final test before world championships

Great Britain para-cycling road squad ready for final test before world championships

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Great Britain’s para-cycling road team is confident ahead of the final round of the 2014 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Segovia, Spain from 25-27 July.

The 11-athlete squad is assembled in the Spanish town, 40 kilometres north of Madrid and comprises of Lora Turnham and Corrine Hall (BVI), David Stone (T2), Karen Darke (H3), Rik Waddon (C3), Shaun McKeown (C3), Steve Bate and Adam Duggleby (BVI), Brian Alldis (H4), Jon Gildea (C5) and Simon Price (C2).

“The mood in the team is really good, really positive environment,” said Great Britain Cycling Team para-cycling road coach Paul Dring.

“We've brought them out for a camp beforehand to get a bit of acclimatisation work in.

"It's going to be 38 degrees and 80 percent humidity in Greenville so we need them to be exposed to hot weather."

Riders will be competing on three different courses this weekend. A flat, out-and-back route in Cuellar will be used for Friday’s time-trial in all classes, while the road race events will use two different courses.

Tandems and hand-cycles will race on Saturday in Cuellar on a predominantly flat course while Sunday will see action move to nearby Cantimpalos, for the C1 to C5 and trike road races.

For the squad, the long term goal is scoring points towards Rio 2016 qualification but, as Dring, explained, the focus is squarely on fine-tuning the team for world championships performance.

"Really at the moment we're in world championship mode and it's all about the worlds at the end of August.” explained Dring.

"For us it’s to see if they are capable of going to the world championships and doing a ride."

The Great Britain squad has reason to be confident ahead of Segovia, having posted strong results in the first round in Tuscany in May and at other international events since, most notably in the tandem Tour of Belgium, where Lora Turnham and Corrine Hall dominated, while Steve Bate and Adam Duggleby won the earlier Tour of Holland before posting third in Belgium.

"We're interested to know after their great success at the Tour of Belgium how they're going to get on at this world standard,” said Dring of the promising pairing of Bate and Duggleby.

"They beat some really good bikes there so we'd expect them to be competitive here."

Dring is just as excited to see what time-trial world champions and world cup leaders Lora Turnham and Corrine Hall can produce.

"Lora and Corrine beat the road world champions in Belgium,” he said.

“They're on the crest of a wave really - they're going really well.

"This week we want to see them consolidate their position but also show that they've moved on another step towards the world championships."

Also leading the world cup standings is Karen Darke in the H3 time-trial, who won in Italy by 33 seconds, also beating everyone in the class above.

"I'm really excited to see where she'll be this week," said Dring. "I think the time trial will suit her really nicely."

Up against a tough test is Paralympic champion David Stone in the T2 trike class.

"This week David is up against his big rival Hans-Peter Durst from Germany, who is current world time trial champion,” said Dring. "They haven't really raced much against each other this year so it's going to be good to see how he goes against Hans-Peter.”

Paralympian Rik Waddon, riding the C3 class, is guesting on the squad for Segovia having ridden for the Para-T team in Italy and impressed Dring with his results.

"Rik is guesting for us - he's very confident - he's put in a lot of hard work and he's in good shape,” said the para-cycling road coach.

Also competing in C3 is London 2012 time-trial medallist Shaun McKeown. Despite struggling in Italy after a hard track season, Dring is confident that McKeown is ready to prove himself in Spain ahead of the worlds.

"I think we're going to see a different Shaun than we saw in Italy,” revealed Dring.

"He won the time-trial here last year and he really likes the course."

Brian Alldis rides in the ultra-competitive H4 class for hand-cycles but steady improvement for the academy rider has prompted his inclusion for Segovia.

“He's moved up a level - he's improved so much this year and his training has gone really well," said Dring.

John Gildea and Simon Price complete the line-up, Gildea riding the C5 solo class while Price is one to watch in the C2 category.

"Simon's got a very good racing brain and he's got a good sprint. He won on this course last year so he knows how to finish up that hill,” said Dring.

"Our main focus for him has been the time-trials. He was about 30 seconds off a podium place in Italy so our objective has been to push him up to that podium or above."

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