All set for the 2020 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships

Hot on the heels of the 2019-2020 Tissot UCI Track World Cup last weekend, the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, Canada, is ready to raise the curtain on the 2020 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, running from Thursday 30 January to Sunday 2nd February.

After Apeldoorn (the Netherlands) in 2019 and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 2018, the 2020 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships will feature the best of the planet’s para-cycling talent to decide whose shoulders the rainbow jerseys settle on for this Paralympic year. It’s a packed schedule over the four days; here are some riders and battles to watch out for.

Competition gets underway Thursday

Proceedings get under way Thursday with the spectacular mixed M/WB 750m tandem team sprint.

The Women’s C4 and C5 500m time trial and Men’s C4 and C5 1km time trial Final and Omnium rounds follow. Amongst the potential highlights, Britain’s Jody Cundy will aim to extend his astonishing run of C4 kilo wins.

In the Women’s C1 & C2 3km individual pursuit, look for 2019 C2 winner Sini Zeng (China), bronze medallist Sarah Ellington (New Zealand) and Christelle Ribault (France). The field is very strong in the WC3 category with World ranked No 1 Paige Greco of Australia (2019 individual pursuit and 500m TT UCI World Champion), and multiple Paralympic medallist Denise Schindler of Germany, who was individual pursuit UCI World Champion in 2018.

Expect intense competition in the Men’s C1 3km individual pursuit from the inspirational swimmer-turned-track cyclist Ricardo ten Argiles of Spain and 2017 gold medallist Ross Wilson (Canada). In the MC2, watch 2019 gold and silver medallists Darren Hicks of Australia and Canada’s Tristen Chernove; and in the MC3 can Joseph Berenyi (USA) or Eduardo Santas Asensio (Spain) challenge UCI World ranked no 1, and 2017, 2018 and 2019 UCI World Champion David Nicholas of Australia?

Day 2: time trials and tandem pursuit promise intense competition

The Women’s C1, C2 and C3 500m time trials are followed by Men’s 1km time trials and Omnium events for Men and Women C1-C5, featuring many of the leading riders in each class who are competing across multiple events in the Championships.

For the WB 3km individual pursuit, what a thrill to have the standard of competition set by Emma Foy of New Zealand (2019 gold medallist and ranked number 1), Belgium’s Griet Hoet (2019 silver medallist), multi-event medallist Larissa Klaassen of the Netherlands, and Great Britain’s Lora Fachie (2019 bronze medallist).

In the MB 4km individual pursuit, look out for two Dutch riders: Tristan Bangma – last year’s bronze medallist, 2016 silver medallist and current UCI World ranked no 1; and Vincent ter Schure, last year’s silver medallist. 2019 sprint bronze medallist Adam Brzozowski of Poland also features, as does the multi-talented Ignacio Avila Rodriguez of Spain, who races road as well as track, and is a track and field Paralympian.

Men’s C1-C5 200m Flying Start Omnium races round out the day.

Day 3: Former and defending UCI World Champions in force

If anyone can beat Ricardo ten Argiles of Spain in the Men’s C1 15km Scratch Race it might be Ross Wilson of Canada or Pierre Senska of Germany. In the MC2 Scratch Race, Canadian Tristen Chernove is set to start as home favourite from Australia’s Darren Hicks and Ewoud Vromant of Belgium.

In the Women’s C4 3km individual pursuit the Australian pair of Emily Petricola and Meg Lemon (first and third in 2019 respectively) and Jianping Ruan of China, 2018 winner, are the ones to watch. In the WC5 individual pursuit Great Britain’s iconic Dame Sarah Storey is due to start as favourite, but can Caroline Groot of the Netherlands, Britain’s Crystal Lane-Wright or New Zealand’s Nicole Murray upset that?

In the Men’s C4 4km individual pursuit the challenges to 2019 UCI World Champion and 2016 Paralympic gold medalist Jozef Metelka (Slovakia) could come from Ireland’s Ronan Grimes (UCI World ranked no 2), or the highly experienced Jody Cundy (Britain). In the MC5 individual pursuit the top three ranked riders could all go head-to-head: Australian Alistair Donohoe (2019 gold medallist), Britain’s Jonathan Gildea (2018 silver medallist) and Lauro Cesar Mouro Chaman of Brazil.

WB 1km time trial Final: UCI World ranked no 1, 2019 gold medallist Emma Foy (New Zealand), silver medallist Griet Hoet (Belgium), and bronze medallist Lora Fachie (Britain) are all set to line up in the tandem TT for riders with visual impairment, as are the Netherlands’ Larissa Klaassen and Great Britain’s Sophie Thornhill (UCI World ranked no 2) – it’s wide open. In last year’s Men B 1km time trial final it was hard to separate James Ball and Neil Fachie as the Britons finished 1-2 ahead of Dutchman Tristan Bangma in Apeldoorn… could these three all figure again in Milton?

In the Women’s C1-2 10km Scratch Race, top ranked Amanda Reid of Australia and Sini Zeng of China feature in the first of the mass start Scratch Races. The WC3 Scratch Race should see Aussie Paige Greco and German Denise Schindler against Xiaomei Wang of China and 2017 UCI World Champion Anna Beck of Sweden. For the WC4 Scratch Race Emily Petricola and Meg Lemon (Australia) and Jianping Ruan (China) should figure while Canadian Marie-Claude Molnar will be driven by home support. In the WC5 Scratch Race, Britain’s Dame Sarah Storey is once again the rider to beat… she loves rainbow stripes and is aiming to qualify for her eighth Paralympic Games.

Day 4: Scratch Races and tandem sprints round out the Championships

We have three Men’s Scratch Race finals. In the MC3 classification, watch Australia’s 2019 Champion David Nicholas, USA’s Joseph Berenyi and the Spaniard Eduardo Santas Asensio. In MC4, Slovakia’s Jozef Metelka, Ireland’s Ronan Grimes and the USA’s former BMXer Jason Macom. And in the MC5 class, eyes will be on Australia’s Alistair Donohoe and Britain’s Jonathan Gildea.

Forty-eight riders are on the provisional start list for the mixed M/WC1-5 750m team sprint, with the teams of three riders progressing to the final. USA have great strength in depth, but that won’t phase the riders from China, Belgium, France and elsewhere…

In the finale events, WB sprint finals, the medals may come from the quartet of Great Britain’s Sophie Thornhill, Griet Hoet of Belgium, the Netherlands’ Larissa Klaassen  and Katie-George Dunlevy from Ireland. And in the Men’s equivalent, MB sprint finals, expect more fireworks from the likes of the Nethelrands’ Tristan Bangma and Vincent ter Schure; the two Brits, Neil Fachie and James Ball; and the Polish pair, Adam Brzozowski and Marcin Polak.

However the races play out, we’re sure to have great competition and more stories from the velodrome in Milton, Canada. Keep informed via UCI’s social media feeds.