After a colourful opening ceremony, riders entered the Aguascalientes Bicentenary Velodrome for the biggest track cycling competition since the London 2012 Paralymipcs.
Temperatures soared to near 40 degrees Celsius on Thursday (11 April) in Aguascalientes, Mexico, on the first day of the 2014 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships.
After a colourful Opening Ceremony, riders entered the Aguascalientes Bicentenary Velodrome for the biggest track cycling competition since the London 2012 Paralymipcs.
The New Zealand duo of Emma Foy and Laura Fairweather won the women’s 3km pursuit ahead of teammates Phillipa Gray and Kylie Young. Foy and Fairweather set a new record of 3:23.328, beating the previous best by eight seconds.
In the men’s 4km pursuit it was the Australian duo of Matt Formston and Michael Curran who struck gold ahead of Spain’s Ignacio Avila Rodriguez and Joan Font Bertoli, racing to a time of 4:13.105.
The American pair of Clark Rachfal and David Swanson took the bronze.
The sprint events were also held, as China’s Jufanj Zhou took victory in the women’s C5 class in a lightning quick 36.379, followed by American Jennifer Schuble and Brit Sarah Storey.
Storey, the reigning world champion from 2012, was making her comeback after the birth of her daughter, Louisa.
Another Chinese athlete, Jianping Ruan, dominated the women’s 500m sprint C4 in a record time of 37.879, with New Zealand’s Katherine Horan capturing silver and Australia’s Susan Powell finishing in bronze-medal position.
In her first World Championships, the USA’s Jamie Whitmore broke the world record to win gold in the women’s 500m sprint C3. Whitmore’s time of 42.955 seconds broke the previous record by more than 18 hundredths of a second. Whitmore also won two world titles on the roads last fall, before trying her hand at track cycling for the first time only four months ago.
“It feels great anytime you can walk away with the win,” Whitmore told US Paralympics. “The thing for me today was that I was just racing scared. I had no idea what to expect, this was only my third race, so it was just about going out hard and telling myself to keep going faster.”
Germany’s Denise Schindler raced to silver behind Whitmore, and Australia’s Simone Kennedy claimed the bronze.
The women’s 500m sprint C2 event saw Dutch rider Alyda Norburis easily capture the gold in 40.002 ahead of the USA’s Allison Jones and China’s Sini Zeng, while Australia’s Jayme Richardson took gold in the C1 class.