“We had a great day and a brilliant week. I am extremely happy.”
Dutch para-cyclist Alyda Norbruis stole the show yet again Sunday (30 March), in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, with her third victory at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships. Great Britain men’s and women’s tandem teams also rocketed the London 2012 hosts to the top of the final standings.
Already having been crowned queen of the time trail and pursuit races earlier in the competition, Norbruis once more drew the Apeldoorn velodrome’s crowd to its feet with her thrilling win in the C2-3 scratch race. US athlete Jamie Whitmore-Cardenas came in for the silver medal, while Germany’s Denise Schindler took the bronze.
In the C4-5 class, the USA’s Greta Neimanas took home the rainbow jersey and top honours. Poland’s Anna Harkowska and Great Britain’s Crystal Lane finished second and third, respectively.
“Towards the end of the race, I realised that I could get the win. The last 10 laps were the longest of my life! My teammate Sam was phenomenal making sure others weren’t able to attack. I don’t think I could have done it alone,” acknowledged Neimanas, for whom this victory is the third world title of her career.
In men’s racing, Ireland’s Eoghan Clifford won the gold in the 15km scratch race in the C1-3 category. The USA’s Joseph Berenyi earned the silver medal, while Spain’s Eduardo Santas Asensio took the bronze.
In the C4-5 class, Australia’s Alistair Donohoe was the first over the line after 60 laps. Brazil’s Soelito Gohr – former scratch race world champion – finished with the silver medal, ahead of Australia’s Michael Gallagher.
Speed-based races for blind or vision-impaired athletes also took place Sunday. Briton Sophie Thornhill and pilot Helen Scott retained their world title in the tandem race, crossing the line before Australian duo Brandie O’Connor and pilot Breanna Hargrave, who last year earned the same silver medal honours in 2014 in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
This marked Thornhill and Scott’s second win on the Apeldoorn track, where they also won in the 1km time trial race. “We had a great day and a brilliant week. It’s really fantastic to have won against the Australian duo and keep the rainbow jersey. My pilot and I did a great job tactically today; I am extremely happy,” commented Thornhill, who at 19 years of age has a bright future indeed.
Japan’s tandem team of Yurie Kanuma and Mai Tanaka (pilot) were proud recipients of the bronze medal, dominating New Zealand's Emma Foy and Laura Fairweather (pilot) for the third place.
In men’s racing, Great Britain’s Neil Fachie and Peter Mitchell (pilot) retained their sprint race World Championships rainbow jerseys by defeating Spain’s Jose Enrique Porto Lareo and Jose Antonio Villanueva Trinidad (pilot) in the final.
“It was a great competition for Peter and I. It’s always difficult when you’re defending a World Championship title, but with the Paralympic Games around the corner, we were able to show that we’re still very much in the running and we can still be a medal threat. Overall, we’re really pleased,” analysed Fachie, who also tasted victory on Thursday with Mitchell in the time trial race.
Dutch athletes Tristan Bangma and Teun Mulder (pilot) got the better of Gemany’s Kai-Kristian Kruse and Stefan Nimke in the battle for third place.
In the mixed team sprint final, China’s Chinois Xie Hao, Wei Guoping and Duan Baobin took gold over 2014 World Champions, Spain’s Eduardo Santas Asensio, Amador Granados Alkorta and Alfonso Cabello Llamas, who had to settle for silver.
Russians Nikita Nagnibedov, Sergey Batukov and Sergey Ustinov stepped onto the remaining spot of the podium after a victory against the US team of Jennifer Schuble, Joseph Berenyi, and Christopher Murphy in the bronze medal final.
In the final rankings, Great Britain finished at the head of the proverbial class with nine medals, comprising seven gold. China was close behind in second with 10 medals, six of which were gold, while the USA occupied third with 12 medals, four of which were gold.
Watch replay of Sunday's action here.
Full results here.