August 24/10 11:23 am - Para-cycling Road World Championships: Day 4 Report and Photos
Posted by Editoress on 08/24/10
Photos and reportfrom the 4th day of racing at the Para-cycling Road World Championships in Baie-Comeau, Quebec
Women's Tandem Road Race
Men's Tandem Road Race
More to come
The Para-cycling world championships concluded on Sunday with gold and bronze medals for Canada. In the women's tandem event, which pairs a sighted rider with a visually impaired one, Lyne Bessette and Robbi Weldon rode away from the field to win the gold medal. Canada's other team in the race, Emilie Roy and Genevieve Ouellet completed the day by taking the bronze medal in a sprint behind New Zealand. Canada broke last year's Para Worlds medal record of six at one championships with seven - one gold, two silver and four bronze. Canada finished 11th in the medal rankings.
The seven lap, 57 .8 kilometre race featured a hard climb on each lap, and the Canadian teams took turns attacking, until Bessette and Weldon were able to break clear with two laps to go. The Dutch and New Zealand teams chased strongly, but the lead steadily crept up, with the Canadians winning by 53 seconds.
"We knew that we had two strong teams," explained Bessette, "so we just had to keep the pressure on. Emilie and Genevieve would attack and then we would. On that last climb, we were just giving it everything we had to stay away."
"As an athlete you always want to be World Champion. Some will say many things, but I lived great moments this week. This week is a turning point in my life where I realized a lot of things in general. These guys are exceptional."
“I was not stressed at all, and I was often nervous during my career. I saw a sports psychologist in training camp in Bromont. This is the first time I saw one, and I wish I had seen one of them before, this guy. What he said made all the difference, and he did not say much."
Weldon, who came to cycling from cross-country skiing this year, had complete trust in her pilot. "Lyne's one of the best, most experienced riders you could wish for. I just had to ride and maintain focus. It's amazing to win a world title when Lyne and I have probably only two weeks of riding time together. We can only get better."
"(World Champion) sounds very good. It's actually quite hard to imagine, we worked really hard today, and it's great to be here in Baie-Comeau, here in Canada, and win the World Championship title."
"The last 300 metres just gave me goose bumps. There were so many people out today, and it was so awesome the last couple of laps, absorbing all that energy from the crowd and transferring it to my legs it up the big hills."
In the Men's tandem race, the duo of Stephane Côté and Pierre-Olivier Boily placed fifth, just two seconds short of the podium.
The world championships concluded with the Team Relay, an event Canada had won bronze in last year. In Para-cycling, the Team Relay consists of three riders from Handcycle categories. A complicated handicapping system is used to balance out riders from the different categories (H1 to H4) and men or women on the team. Each rider completed two laps of a 3.8 kilometre circuit. Canada's team consisted of Mark Ledo, Robert Labbé and Mark Beggs.
Germany was the dominant team in the race, taking the lead on the second lap and never relinquishing it. The United states took the silver medal and Switzerland the bronze. Canada moved into third after the first lap with Mark Ledo, but then gradually fell out of contention, to finish eighth.
- Regular participants had high praise for these championships, especially the crowds of spectators, who numbered in the thousands on the final day. Many said the crowds were some of the largest ever at a Para Worlds. Baie-Comeau is scheduled to host a Para World Cup next year.