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UCI Para-cycling World Championships

The UCI Para-cycling World Championships concluded Sunday with the United States taking 9 victories in the event and thus topping the medal tally.

By winning the handbikes’ team relay, the trio formed by Matthew Updike (H2), Marianna Davis (H2) and Oscar Sanchez (H4) brought to nine the number of victories signed by the American delegation, which finished at the top of the nations’ ranking. The pair formed by Karissa Whitsell (B) and Lisa Turnbull claimed the honours of the road race, just like their compatriot Allison Jones (C2).

The Germans  walked off with the most medals during these Worlds, with a harvest of 18. With five gold, they finished at the medal standing’s second spot.

The organisation of an event…and well beyond!

The para-cyclists’ next big rendezvous will be from February 9 to 12, in Los Angeles, for the UCI Track World Championships. United States will then welcome the world. Does being the hostess nation change the expectations, the goals?

“We have three goals. One is to win as many medals as we can and we are aiming for six. The second goal is to get as many points as we can for the UCI ranking. The third goal is to try and provide an opportunity for a lot of our younger athletes and our developing athletes to compete in an international competition”, said Craig Griffin, Head Coach of the American Para-cyclingTeam.

But in reality, there is a fourth goal, which is part of a long-term strategy. “We are not just running an event. We are trying to create an opportunity for disability groups in the Los Angeles area, which represents a 12 million population, to come in and see the sport, and try and encourage these disability groups and sport clubs to integrate para-cycling into their programs. So, it is very much a development project as well as an international project for us”, he added.

Even if results are at there, an important preoccupation remains: recruitment of new talent. “I am satisfied with our progress, but I always want more. The game is changing every year. What was good enough last year is not this year, because the level is improving. I get nervous because we have to look for new athletes all the time. The existing athletes that we have, I cannot improve them much more. Our focus right now is to help new athletes grow , because I do not think we can continue to maintain our performances internationally with only the athletes that we have”, he explained.

Let’s not forget that the upcoming UCI calendar events are important as they will allow their participants to get their hands on many precious points in view  of qualification to the London Olympic  Games .

To check the results of the last competition day, click here.