“The overall level is getting higher and higher. It gives us an idea of what it will be like at the World Championships.”
The final UCI Para-Cycling World Cup took place in Segovia, Spain, from 25-27 July, before riders travel to the USA for the World Championships in just over four weeks’ time.
A total of 379 athletes (including 48 tandem pilots) from 38 countries braved soaring temperatures that had reached 30 degrees by lunchtime.
Germany topped the medals table with 17 gongs followed by team USA with 15 and Italy on 11. The USA won the most gold medals overall with five athletes putting in nine winning performances.
Host country Spain was fourth in the table with 11 medals.
Alessandro Zanardi was again amongst those to take the overall World Cup win in Spain.
However, unlike in Italy when the 47-year-old won both the time trial and the road race on home soil, Zanardi did not totally dominate proceedings in Segovia. Only third in the men’s H5 time trial, eventually won by Dutch athlete Tim De Vries, the Italian claimed victory in the road race to ensure his overall win.
“I wasn’t happy with the time trial but I made up for it afterwards,” said the former racing driver.
The double Paralympic Champion in 2012 had to battle to the end to win the road race. He made the difference at the top of the final 800m climb where he was lying in fourth place before his attack. “The overall level is getting higher and higher,” he said. “It gives us an idea of what it will be like at the World Championships.”
Great Britain’s Lora Turnham sealed a win in the women’s B road race with guide Corrine Hall (2:15.48), ahead of Poland’s Iwona Podkoscielna guided by Aleksandra Wnuczek (2:16.50). The Spanish pair of Josefa Benitez and Judit Masdeu (2:17.06) finished in third.
In the men’s time trial, Ignacio Avila and guide Joan Font (26:05.61) led a double podium for the hosts, with the Netherlands’ Vincent ter Schure and Timo Fransen (26:13.01) finishing ahead of Carlos Gonzalez and co-pilot Noel Martin (26:19.61).
American Jamie Whitmore, who was recently named Best Female Athlete with a Disability at the 2014 ESPYS, also won the overall title in the women's C3 class. Whitmore added two more gold medals in the time trial and road race to put her competitors on notice ahead of the Worlds.
Canada’s Shelley Gautier (24:45.87) eased to victory in the women’s T1 time trial, leading Russia’s Svetlana Perova (30:37.50) and Slovakia’s Simona Matickova (34:50.36).
The 2014 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships will take place in Greenville, USA, from 28 August-1 September.