“Many of the athletes took a break after last year’s Paralympic Games and are now at their peak form after the season of World Cup racing.”
Just one week after the final of the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup, the sport’s top athletes are meeting again for the leading event of the year – the World Championships.
Making a return to Baie-Comeau, Canada, where they were held in 2010, the 2013 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships will run from Thursday (29 August) to Sunday (1 September).
Paralympic champions, reigning world champions and newly crowned World Cup winners are among the 264 athletes from 39 countries who are in the Quebec city for the event.
Most have made the trip from nearby Matane, where they competed in the third and final round of the World Cup last week. Others, such as the delegations from Japan, China, Ghana, Malaysia and Romania, sat out the Matane competitions and have arrived on the American continent directly for the World Championships.
Many of the athletes are familiar with the popular para-cycling venue, which hosted the World Championships in 2010 and the final round of the World Cup in 2011 and 2012. Baie-Comeau has also led the way as far as environmentally practices are concerned, becoming the first UCI event to earn the UCI reCycling label.
The Czech Republic’s Jiri Jezek (C4) has not missed one of the Canadian events, and after his overall World Cup win last year declared: “This is my favourite place for racing ... I love the crowd. It’s a great atmosphere.”
Jezek went on to win the time trial at the London Paralympics, and arrives in Baie-Comeau this week having successfully defended his World Cup title.
He is among the 24 winners of the 2013 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup, all of whom are on the start list for the Baie-Comeau World Championships. However they will have stiff competition from some athletes who did not compete in all rounds of the World Cup.
“We have a particularly strong line-up for the World Championships this year,” commented UCI pra-cycling co-ordinator Christophe Cheseaux. “Many of the athletes took a break after last year’s Paralympic Games and are now at their peak form after the season of World Cup racing.”
The time trials will be held on Thursday and Friday, followed by the road races on Saturday and Sunday.