New Zealanders were treated to an exceptional display of Para cycling at the recent Grassroots Trust Age Group Road National Championships hosted by Cycling New Zealand in Cambridge. Competitor numbers in the Para cycling events almost doubled that of the 2016 Para Cycling Road National Championships, with multiple entries across all disciplines (hand cycles, trikes, bikes and tandems).
Twenty-one Para cyclists gave their all, in both time trial and road race events. The time trial course was 16.4km for competitors in the hand cycle, trike, and C1/2 classifications, and 25.4km for C3/4/5 and tandem competitors. For the road races, hand cycle and trike competitors raced over 25.4km, while all C class riders and tandems took on a gruelling 45km loop.
All races were mixed multi-class events, meaning males and females from several classifications were grouped together to maximise the number of competitors in each race. Results are processed through a “factoring” calculation to adjust for sex and classification, allowing accurate comparison of performance on a level playing field. This led to some tough competition, a few sprint finishes, and a diverse mix of Rio Paralympians, seasoned competitors and first-time racers taking to the podium to receive their medals! Full results can be accessed below.
Prior to the National Championships, Paralympics New Zealand hosted an open Para cycling training camp and coaches workshop for all competitors and interested riders. The focus of the camp was on “Race day preparation” with sessions covering course assessment, warm ups, nutrition and good clean sport. An update on Para cycling pathways was provided for all athletes and coaches, and coaches participated in valuable discussions around coaching Para athletes.
With the domestic Para cycling competition season complete, attention now shifts to selecting new Para cycling high performance and development squads for 2017/2018. A new squad structure and selections will be announced in the coming weeks.
Aside from selection announcements, the focus is also on the commencement of international road racing with the first Para Cycling UCI World Cup in Italy this weekend. New Zealand Para athletes Fraser Sharp (C3) and Jono Nelson (H4) will be competing in upcoming World Cup events as independents. News and results on UCI World Cups can be found on the UCI website.
2017 Para Cycling Road National Championships Results – Time Trials
2017 Para Cycling Road National Championships Results – Road Races