The Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) Para-Cycling team departed today for the 2014 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Greenville, USA from 28 August – 1 September.
The eleven strong team including three tandem combinations and five Hand-Cyclists who will be competing amongst 450 elite international athletes. Many of the NZ team have recently competed at the Track World Championships in Mexico and the Road World Cup in Italy, bringing home a total of six medals.
This is the first time New Zealand have ever had three female tandem combinations at this event. They will be lead by the Track World Champion combination of Emma Foy and sighted pilot Laura Fairweather. They will be aiming to add to their achievements with another World title, this time on the road. Foy/Fairweather finished a close second to the British Road World Champions at the recent Road World Cup in Italy and are hoping to go one better in Greenville.
The other NZ tandem combinations will include London Paralympian Phillipa Gray and her sighted pilot Kylie Young. A new combination will see Amanda Cameron make her second international appearance with Gabby Vermunt as her sighted pilot.
The Hand-Cyclists are lead by London Paralympian Sue Reid. She will be joined by Tiffiney Perry also a well known Wheelchair Tennis player. While Brendon Stratton, Shane Blows and Tim Williams will be competing in their second international competition and looking to build on their experience.
PNZ Head Bike Performance Coach Brendon Cameron says, “This is the largest Para-Cycling team that has travelled to a World Championships. Half of the team haven’t had a lot of international experience but they have all worked really hard to meet the tough qualifying standards to make this team and the programme will support them in every way to achieve best results”.
Although the team have had to do their build up in New Zealand over the long winter, Cameron is optimistic. He says, “Although a little short of racing, the training has definitely been put in and we are looking at striking medals in a few events at this Championship”.