Top five para-cycling moments of 201429.12.2014
In 2014 there were two World Championships, World Cups and many great achievements in para-cycling.
Here are five highlights from the year in para-cycling:
1. The never ending (success) Storey
Dame Sarah Storey is Great Britain’s most decorated Paralympian and in 2014 the 36-year-old completed her first full year back on the circuit since becoming a mum.
She announced herself back on to the world scene at April’s UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico, winning the scratch race and setting a new world record for gold in the 3km time trial.
Then in late August and early September she capped a great comeback year winning the road race and time trial at the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Greenville, USA.
In February 2015 she will bid to break the UCI hour world record by surpassing the 11-year-old record of 46.065km set by Dutch rider Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel.
2. Local star Zanardi wins gold at home
May’s UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup in Castiglione, Italy, saw local favourite Alex Zanardi finish with two gold medals after setting a record time of 21:51.88 in the H5 time trial and taking victory in the H5 road race. The local crowd had no hesitation celebrating with the 47-year-old honorary citizen as he added to Italy’s medal tally. In July Zanardi claimed another World Cup win in Spain and then picked up an individual world title in September in the men’s time trial H5. He was also part of the Italian team that won the team relay race world title.
3. Record breaking Aguascalientes
In April Aguascalientes, Mexico, staged the 2014 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships, an event which saw 23 world records fall. The tandem bikes were among those to join in the record breaking, with records falling in the men’s and women’s 200m, 1km, 3km trials and the men’s 4km tandem race. With 12 men’s and 11 women’s records being broken, Aguascalientes was clearly a highly successful event for all involved.
4. Van Dyk v Zanardi
The 2014 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Greenville, USA, saw two huge rivals – Italy’s Alex Zanardi and South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk - go head-to-head in the men’s H5 hand-cycling class.
Zanardi took first blood in the time trial, while van Dyk edged out his rival in the road race in an extremely tight finish. Less than one second separated the top three in both races, with the Netherlands’ Tim de Vries winning bronze in both events.
5. Carol Cookecombines para-cycling with fundraising
Australian Cooke, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1998 and told she would never do sport again, has remained undefeated in para-cycling trike classification for two years. She won World Cup titles in 2013 and 2014 and both the road race and time trial events at the 2014 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships.
Away from sport, Cook started a charity event called the 24 Hour Mega Swim to raise funds for MS Australia, a charity she is an ambassador for. The event has grown to 15 swims throughout Australia and since 2001 she has raised in excess of AUD 6.3 million.