Italian handcyclists, Spanish tandems rule roads

Italy’s Alex Zanardi and the Spanish pair of Ignacio Avila Rodriguez and Joan Font Bertoli are off to a quick start this season. 17 Jun 2013
UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup Segovia

Athletes take to the road for the second stop of the 2013 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup in Segovia, Spain.


The UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup will head to Matane, Canada next from 23-25 August.

The second round of the 2013 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup took place last weekend in Segovia, Spain, where Italy, Germany and host nation Spain had the most success.

This popular World Cup destination offered the athletes a new time trial course in blazing sun through the commune of Cuellar. The circuit of 11km, completed once or twice depending on the sport class, saw many athletes recording their fastest ever average speeds over the distance.

At the first World Cup event in Italy earlier this month, the Italian men’s tandems finished first and second in the opening time trial in front of their home crowd.

As if on cue, it was the Spanish tandems that took the honours at home in Segovia. Ignacio Avila Rodriguez and Joan Font Bertoli, who finished seventh in Italy, were on the top step of the podium, completing the 22km in an average speed of 49.73km/h.

Their time clocked in more than 18 seconds faster than their fellow countrymen, second-placed Christian Venge Balboa and David Llaurado Caldero.

Several athletes confirmed their time trial victories from Italy with a second win in Segovia: Ukranian Yehor Dementyev (MC5), the Czech Jiri Jezek (MC4), Germany’s Michael Teuber (MC1), Italian Alessandro Zanardi (MH4), Poland’s Rafal Wilk (MH4), USA’sJamie Whitmore Cardenas (WC3) and Monica Bascio (WH3), Austrian Walter Ablinger (MH2) and France’s Quentin Aubague (MT1).

After the time trials on Friday (14 June), the athletes tackled the road race circuit of 12km on Saturday and Sunday, which they completed between three and nine times according to the sport class.

The Spanish tandems once again dominated proceedings, taking the two top spots in the MB race but in the reverse order of the time trials. Over the 108km Christian Venge Balboa and David Llaurado Caldero finished 27 seconds in front of time trial winners Ignacio Avila Rodriguez and Joan Font Bertoli.

The Italian Pizzi brothers took third place. In the women’s B road race, the British time trial winners Lora Turnham and Corrine Hall took the honours in front of Canadian Paralympic Robbi Weldon and her pilot Emilie Roy.

Italy demonstrated its strength in the handcycling classes, taking four of the seven gold medals at stake.

Coach Fabrizio di Somma said the results were due to team work among the Italian athletes. The experience of athletes such as Alex Zanardi (H4) and Vittorio Podesta (H2) provided a solid school of handcycling for the rest of the team. Italy’s other golds in the H road races went to Luca Mazzone (MH1) and Francesca Fenocchio (WH2).

Germany (two golds) and the USA (one gold) took the other victories in the H classes.

Italy won the handcycling mixed team relay at the end of the day, with Fenocchio, Podesta and Zanardi finishing just two seconds in front of Switzerland. Belgium took third place.

In the C classes, Germany won three gold medals thanks to Steffen Warias (MC3), Pierre Senska (MC1) and Kerstin Brachtendorf (WC5). Germany was followed by the USA and Italy with two golds each in the C classes.

German coach Patrick Kromer stressed the importance of international competitions such as the UCI World Cup as athletes prepare for the World Championships that will take place in Baie-Comeau, Canada, from 29 August-1 September.

One gold medal each went to Canada, the Netherlands, France and Great Britain in the T classes, where Great Britain’s David Stone, T2 Paralympic champion, returned to winning form after finishing second in the road race in Merano last weekend.

The UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup will head to Matane, Canada next from 23-25 August.