The Australian Cycling Team is locked and loaded ahead of the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships which begin Thursday 2 August in Maniago, Italy.
The team is littered with some of the biggest names in para-cycling, including seven-time and dual reigning world champion Carol Cooke, Paralympic gold medallist David Nicholas, former world champion Kyle Bridgwood and Alistair Donohoe.
And while it is easy to focus on these names, there have been two riders quietly making names for themselves in households across the country.
South Australian duo Darren Hicks and Meg Lemon announced themselves at the 2017 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships when on their debut, they clinched dual silver and dual bronze respectively.
In 2018, they the pair head into the World Championships in form and full of confidence after winning gold at May’s opening round of the UCI Para Road World Cup in Belgium.
“We’ve put in a lot of hard work since Belgium working on both skills and fitness in preparation for these World Champs,” said Lemon, who will contest the women’s C4 road race and time trial from Friday.
“Our coach believes he’s worked as harder than ever, so I’m hoping the hard work will pay off here.”
“I would love to podium again this year at Worlds and the World Cup hoping my form and skills I have worked in will help to improve and move up the step to perhaps silver or gold in the race,” added Lemon. “You never know what will happen race day and how everyone else performs, but it’s all about experience and working towards the next few years and qualifying and hopefully peaking at Tokyo.”
However, while she is clearly focussed on her own race and path to Tokyo, Lemon was quick to point out to others what she believes her teammates are capable of achieving this weekend.
“I’m also so excited to see what my teammates can do. I have a feeling Darren might beat us to the rainbow stripes this year,” Lemon remarked.
For Darren Hicks who will race the men’s C2 road race and time trial, his 2018 season has been almost flawless with dual national titles in January, followed by World Cup gold in May.
“It's been a dream start to the road season, most of my training is in preparation for road competition, so it was great to see all of that pay off in Belgium,” said Hicks, who despite the early season successes, has continued to strive for the marginal gains.
“As far as performance goes my numbers were good in Ostend, but we have worked on a few things since coming home and made some nice gains in a couple of areas.
“After a surprising set of results last year, going backwards and staying stagnant aren't options so that only leaves climbing one step higher on the podium!
“So quite simply, winning is my one and only goal.”
More on the Championships
The Championships will be live streamed via the official Facebook page, with more event information via the official website.
For official start lists and results, visit the UCI website.
2018 Australian Cycling Team - UCI Para Road World Championships
The Australian Cycling Team has celebrated ten medals at the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Rio, fourth most by any nation behind Great Britain, Netherlands and China.
Highlighting the four days of competition for the green and gold was a world title defence by David Nicholas (QLD), and a world record and two medals to debutant Emily Petricola (VIC), plus dual silver to the Tandem pairing of Jessica Gallagher and Maddie Janssen.
The Championships also offered the first vital opportunity for nations to grab valuable qualification points towards Tokyo 2020, with the 16-rider Australian team featuring among 200 of the world’s best from 30 countries. Complete results.
Summary of medallists
Reigning Paralympic and world champion David Nicholas (QLD) surged to defend his C3 individual pursuit world title on the opening day, clocking the fastest time during Thursday afternoon’s qualifying (3:36.792).
Nicholas found two extra seconds in the tank in the evening’s final (3:34.804) to comfortably defeat Diederick Schelfhout (BEL) by over four seconds.
"It definitely feels amazing to defend my pursuit title, as it was the objective of the Championships. I am pretty happy with my results but there is always room for improvements so I will reflect when we get home and hopefully be stronger and faster next time," said Nicholas.
On her team debut on Thursday, Emily Petricola (VIC) powered to a time of 41.409secs to win bronze in the C4 women’s 500m time trial.
On Saturday, Petricola eclipsed the existing C4 individual pursuit world record in qualifying by two tenths of a second (3:54.501), before riding to take the silver medal. Teammate Meg Lemon (SA) won the bronze.
“I have been pleasantly surprised by my performance here, in particular grabbing bronze in the time trial,” said Petricola, who only began cycling a few months ago.
“I need to acknowledge the work of Cam Jennings who has moulded me into some resemblance of a track cyclist.
“Taking the world record in the individual pursuit was not in the plans, but a great bonus. My only possible improvement would have been gold in the event.”
Victorians Jessica Gallagher and Maddie Janssen claimed dual silver on the week in the Tandem time trial and sprint, with the pair recording a personal best in the flying 200m. Both Tandem events were won by multiple Paralympic and world champion Sophie Thornhill (GBR) and Pilot Helen Scott, including world records in both events.
Gallagher and Janssen will now head home to represent Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“We are really happy with our results and our two silver medals,” said Gallagher. “A personal best in our flying 200m and just outside our one kilometre time trial personal gives us great momentum as we head straight into GC2018.
“We have a few areas we can improve on & we are incredibly excited to head home and race on home soil.”
In all, Australia finished just off the top step in seven events with silver to Amanda Reid (NSW-C2) in the time trial, Kyle Bridgwood (QLD-C4) in the pursuit, and Alistair Donohoe (VIC-C5) and Darren Hicks (SA-C2) in their respective scratch races.
The team was also just off the podium in fourth on seven occasions through Darren Hicks (SA-C2), Simone Kennedy (NSW-C3) and Amanda Reid (NSW-C2) in the individual pursuit, and Kennedy and Kyle Bridgwood (QLD-C4) in the time trial.
In the men’s Tandem, Brad Henderson and Pilot Thomas Clarke finished fourth in both the time trial and sprint in their first Championships as a pairing. It took the might of multiple Paralympic and world champion Neil Fachie (GBR) and Pilot Matthew Rothertham to stop the pair’s run in the sprint semi final.
In other events, Alistair Donohoe (VIC) finished fifth in the C5 individual pursuit and eighth in the time trial, Lemon sixth in the time trial, and Reid fifth in the scratch race. Darcy Thompson (SA-C1) was eighth in the time trial and sixth in the individual pursuit, with Gordon Allan (NSW-C2) fifth in the time trial.
The Tandem pairing of Kieran Murphy and Pilot Lachlan Glasspool (SA) was seventh in the pursuit and in the time trial.
Day 4 Photos © Casey Gibson
Cycling Australia is pleased to announce a 16-rider team for the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships to be held in Rio De Janeiro from 22-55 March 2018.
Reigning world champions Amanda Reid (NSW), David Nicholas (QLD) and Simone Kennedy (NSW) headline the team, which also features Paralympic champions and medallists.
2016 Paralympic Games silver medallists Alistair Donohoe (VIC) and Kyle Bridgwood (QLD) add experience to the team and will both be looking to reclaim world titles on the track.
Darcy Thompson (SA) receives his third national team selection, while Darren Hicks (SA) who claimed two medals at the Road World Championships earns his maiden selection on the track.
National champions Meg Lemon (SA), Emily Petricola (VIC) and Gordon Allan (NSW) will also feature.
2016 world champion and Paralympic bronze medallist Jessica Gallagher (VIC) will be looking to reclaim her sprint title with new Pilot Lara Tucker (QLD) as they eye the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
In the men's Tandem events Brad Henderson (SA) and Thomas Clarke (SA-Pilot) will contest the sprint events and Kieran Murphy (SA) and Lachlan Glasspool (SA-Pilot) the endurance races.
Australian Cycling Team for 2018 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships