After Rome in 2012 and Merano-Marlengo in 2013 the Italian organisers of the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup lead us to the region of Tuscany, more precisely the seaside town of Castiglione Della Pescaia.
Competition in the opening World Cup round kicks off on Friday May 9th with the time trials on a fast course through the town centre. The athletes will cover the 15km circuit once or twice depending on their sport class. The road races on May 10-11 will lead the riders on a short circuit of just over 8km, to be completed between three (for the tricycles and WH1-2 classes) and 14 times (MB).
In total, 318 athletes from 36 countries will participate in this weekend’s competitions. Although it is the first major road competition of the year, many of those in the C and B classes already confronted each other at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico, four weeks ago.
Second behind the USA in the overall World Cup rankings last year, the Italian athletes will be hoping to perform well at home this weekend. With a team of 50 competing in Castiglione Della Pescaia, they can count on a particularly strong handbike contingent which includes 2013 World Cup winners Luca Mazzone, Alessandro Zanardi and Francesca Fenocchio who won the WH2 class last year in front of fellow Italian Claudia Schuler.
The Australians, who count three road World Champions and led a very successful campaign at the track World Champions in April, will not compete in Italy this weekend. However, 19 World Cup winners from 2013 and 21 reigning road World Champions will be present, making the task of claiming the leader’s jersey in the different categories particularly difficult.
After Castiglione Della Pescaia, the 2014 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup will move to Cantimpalos, Segovia (Spain) for the second round (July 25 – 27).
Para-cycling sport classes
C – Cyclist: conventional bike with some minor adaptations
T – Tricycle: three-wheeled bike
B – Blind: tandem
H – Handbike
Each group is divided into different sport classes depending on the severity of the handicap
Photo: Second in the 2013 World Cup, the popular Pizzi brothers Ivano and Lucca, World Champions in the time trial, will be looking for a solid performance in Castiglione Della Pescaia.