Waipa¯ cyclists in Para worlds team
Waipa¯ cyclists Nicole Murray and Eltje Malzbender will represent New Zealand at the 2018 UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships in Maniago, Italy from July 2-5.
The team of five Para cyclists is headlined by Rio 2016 Paralympian Stephen Hills (Taranaki). He will be joined by Sarah Ellington (Auckland), Murray (Te Awamutu), Rory Mead (USA) and Malzbender (Cambridge).
Murray has been in the Para Cycling Programme for a number of years, competing at a variety of national competitions.
She made her international debut in Rio de Janiero at the UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships, exceeding all expectations including her own, winning a silver medal and smashing many personal best times.
Malzbender will join Hills as the second trike Para cyclist in the team heading to Italy. A former national champion runner in her birth country of Germany, she will make her international debut after only coming into the Para Cycling Development Programme in July last year. Eltje initially turned to Para cycling as a form of rehabilitation following a road accident while out cycling in 2016 where she sustained a traumatic brain injury.
Hills was New Zealand’s first ever trike Para cyclist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Most recently he won two silver medals at last year’s edition of the UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships. However, this year Stephen will want to go one better, aiming to climb to the top of the podium and beat rival and world champion Hans-Peter Durst of Germany.
“The naming of this team to represent New Zealand provides a great opportunity for us all to learn and perform with the best Para cyclists in the world,” said PNZ Para Cycling head performance coach, Stu MacDonald.
“I am excited to see what the riders are able to bring to our campaign, but more importantly what we can learn collectively from the World Championships to help the riders and staff grow as we keep working hard towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.”
PNZ high performance director Malcolm Humm said this group is reflective of the huge amount of work that the team at Paralympics New Zealand has been putting in behind the scenes to ensure we have opportunities to bring talented Para cyclists through the sport and onto the international stage.
“Through the development of strong structures and pathways across both our talent identification and athlete development programmes, we are bringing large numbers of Para athletes into Para sport that in the past may not have had this opportunity.”
TRIKE Para cyclist Eltje Malzbender in action at a recent Para Cycling training camp.
SILVER medallist Nicole Murray (left) on the podium at the 2018 UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships in Rio de Janiero.