Historic 5 Titles For Canada Para Road Worlds
2017 Para Road World Championships
Canada finished the 2017 Para Road Cycling World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, held Aug. 31-Sept. 3, with a historic five World titles and seven medals.
Team Canada opened the Championships with two medals, as Shelley Gautier (Toronto, Ont.) won gold in the women’s T1 time trial, while Charles Moreau (Victoriaville, Que.) won bronze in the H3 men’s time trial.
“It feels magical,” said Gautier, “to have a team of people who all do the little things that help me . . . we did it! I’m really, really excited to be world champion, and I’ll treasure it and ride well wearing [the rainbow jersey] in the next year.”
Moreau was a two-time bronze medalist at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, and this was his first World Championships medal.
“It feels really good to get my first [Worlds] medal,” admitted Moreau. “This year being a postGames year and me having a new baby . . . it’s been a year of ups and downs. So it’s been hard to work [train] consistently, and I was not sure what to expect at these first Worlds after Rio. Today was a great experience, with a bigger field than in Rio actually, but I did well against some really experienced racers, and I’m really happy about that.”
Canada took its medal count to five after the second day of competition, as Canucks won two more golds and a silver in the time-trial competitions.
In the men’s C2 category, Paralympic champion Tristen Chernove (Cranbrook, B.C.) won his first road title, to add to the four track World titles he already holds. Chernove’s winning time for the 23.3km race was 35 minutes and 32.72 seconds, 16.44 seconds ahead of silver medalist Darren Hicks (AUS).
“It was wonderful to win today at my first opportunity to compete at the Road World Championships,” said Chernove. “It’s my fifth World title, and what strikes me most today is how ideally set the atmosphere is amongst this amazing Canadian team. I’m loving it.”
Michael Sametz (Calgary, Alta.), a bronze medalist in Rio, racing in the 23.3km men’s C3 category also won his first road title with a time of 32 minutes and 48.92 seconds. Benjamin Watson (GBR) finished second, 37.19 seconds behind.
“It feels really good to win the big one after winning a couple of World Cups this year,” admitted Sametz.
Ross Wilson (Sherwood Park, Alta.), a double silver medalist at the Rio Games, led his 23.3km C1-category race at the first split, but faded slightly to finish 28.21 seconds behind winner Michael Teuber (GER).
“It was a great course and a lot of fun to be out there racing,” said Wilson. “I felt I rode really well and my training is paying off. I’m working with my coaches to devise a plan to find that half-minute that I need to take the rainbow jersey next year.”
In other categories, Marie-Claude Molnar (Saint-Hubert, Que.) was fifth in the women’s C4 competition, Nicole Clermont (Saint-Denis-deBrompton, Que.) was eighth in the women’s C5 category, the women’s tandem team of Shawna Ryan (Saskatoon, Sask.) and Joanie Caron (Rimouski, Que,) was seventh, and the men’s tandem team of Matthieu Croteau-Daigle (Sherbrooke, Que.) and Benoit Lussier (Montreal, Que.) was 12th.
Ontario’s Gautier won her second World title at the Para-cycling Road Worlds, bringing Canada’s total medal count to six for these Championships. Gautier, who had earlier won the women’s T1-category time trial, won the 24.3km road race with a time of one hour, one minute and 41 seconds, finishing a lap ahead of Toni Mould (RSA).
Moreau finished seventh in the men’s H3 60.7km race, Alex Hyndman of Morpeth, Ont. was 10th and Joey Desjardins of Hawkesbury, Ont. was 14th. Moreau was with the winning break until he suffered a mechanical problem.
On the final day, Chernove initiated the winning move a d won the C2 men’s road race in a three-up sprint after 60.7 kilometres of racing. This is his sixth title in six World Championship events (four track, two road) since he began racing two years ago.
“It’s been a-dream-come-true kind of a season,” admitted Chernove. “This was my first Road Worlds and I had high expectations. I’ve worked really hard since Rio without taking a break. It’s my sixth rainbow jersey and I can’t get the smile off my face.”
Wilson missed out on a chance for a second medal in the men’s C1 road race after he got caught behind a crash that saw three riders who managed to avoid the incident winning the medals. Wilson, who won silver in the time trial, chased for the rest of the race to finish fourth.
In other Canadian road-race results, Molnar took sixth in the women’s C4 category, Clermont was seventh in women’s C5, the women’s tandem team of Ryan and Caron was sixth, and the men’s tandem team of Croteau-Daigle and Lussier were 10th.
“It’s been a very successful World Championships – obviously on results, but also on all performances. The most positive aspect is that our team is very cohesive, which is what we have been aiming for,” said Sebastien Travers, Para head coach at Cycling Canada.
(l-r) Philippe Gariépy (doctor), Ross Wilson, Michael Sametz, Tristen Chernove, Arnaud Litou (manager), Guillaume Plourde (coach)
Ontario’s Shelley Gautier took home two golds.