The opening round of the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup series will kick off Friday (5 June) in Maniago, Italy, welcoming about 350 athletes from 36 different countries for the three-day event.
It marks the first of four World Cup events in 2015, and eyes will be on home favourite and reigning World Champion in the H5 class time trial, Alex Zanardi. The Dutch tandem of Stephen De Vries and pilot Patrick Bos will also be ones to watch. The duo already hold two victories under their belts since the beginning of the track cycling season, including one in pursuit at the UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships.
It remains to be seen if De Vries and Bos can translate their track success onto the road.
The US are also podium contenders this week, sending 26 cyclists who look to show why the country topped the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup rankings in 2014. Expecting to make an early statement is Jamie Whitmore. The 38-year-old was ranked first in the world in 2014 in the C3 class and won six of seven races that same year, including two UCI World titles.
Whitmore already has three medals under her belt: two golds and a silver from the UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships held in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, in March.
In the C5 class, Poland’s Anna Harkowska will come to the start line with the intention to wear the rainbow leader’s jersey for the World Championships on 28 July-2 August in Nottwil, Switzerland. Harkowska won her way through the 2014 season but had to settle for silver at the World Championships.
The time trials will take place on Friday (5 June), followed by two days of road races on Saturday and Sunday.
Visit the event website for more information on the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup – Maniago, and go to the UCI’s webpage for more on the World Cup series.