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