Day four of the 2021 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships at the Estoril circuit in Cascais (Portugal) saw more thrilling racing. After the time trials on Thursday and Friday, Saturday was the first of two days dedicated to the road races. Tandems and cycle categories opened proceedings, while the tricycle and hand-bike road races will conclude the competitions on Sunday.
On the Iberian peninsula it was a Spanish smile that was widest – and it belonged to Christian Venge Balboa, winner of the MB road race. The double Paralympic Champion (2008 Beijing and 2012 London) in the time trial is now triple road race Para-cycling World Champion, after his victories in 2007 and 2009, completing the hat-trick at Estoril, Portugal today over the 117.6km (14 lap) race. The 49-year-old sight-impaired stoker from Barcelona earned his two previous UCI world titles with his pilot David Llaurado, and this year’s victory is his first with Noel Martin Infante. It comes just two days after the pair finished seventh in the time trial on the same circuit in Estoril.
Meanwhile, the second, third and fourth tandems were all given the same time in the sprint finish: the Netherlands’ Vincent ter Shure and pilot Timo Fransen (third in Thursday’s time trial), finished 2nd just ahead of their compatriots Tristan Bangma and pilot Patrick Bos (2019 UCI World Champions at their home event in Emmen), and the second Spanish pair of Adolfo Bellido Guerroro and pilot Eloy Teruel Rovira (runners-up at the 2019 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships and 4th in Thursday’s time trial) in 4th place.
Maiden victory for Unwin and Holl
It was also a close finish in the women’s tandem 100.8km road race, with the first three tandems all recording the same time. Victory went to Great Britain’s Sophie Unwin and pilot Jenny Holl in their first UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships. They narrowly claimed their rainbow jerseys over Ireland’s Katie-George Dunlevy with pilot Eve McCrystal who, in 2nd place, repeated their result from Emmen in 2019.
Unwin and Hall are a new pairing but are already making their mark: last month in their first competition together, they finished third in both the road race and the time trial at the UCI World Cup in Ostend (Belgium). They took 4th place in Thursday’s time trial. Third in the road race was the second British duo of Lora Fachie and pilot Corrine Hall, winners of the time trial two days earlier.
Double gold for Anna Beck
In the 92.4km MC5 road race Lauro Chaman (BRA) upgraded his bronze in the time trial to gold in the road race, narrowly beating Yehor Dementyev (UKR), with France’s Kevin Le Cunff in third at 1:20. In the men’s C4 road race, raced simultaneously, Patrik Kuril (SLO) won by 4s from George Peasgood (GBR) – winner of the time trial in his first UCI World Championships – and Ireland’s Ronan Grimes.
The 58.8km WC3 road race saw victory for Anna Beck of Sweden, making it double gold after her time trial win on Thursday. She narrowly beat Germany’s Denise Schindler (third in the time trial), with Great Britain’s Daphne Schrager rounding out the podium in her first UCI Worlds. In the WC2 sport class – competed simultaneously over the same distance – Maike Hausberger (GER) turned her time trial silver into road race gold, with a close win ahead of Flurina Rigling (SUI), and Daniela Carolina Munevar Florez (COL), the time trial UCI World Champion having to settle for third place this time.
Fabio Anobile won the 67.2km MC3 road race, further boosting Italy’s strong medal tally by just edging out Stijn Boersma (NED) and 22-year-old Finlay Graham (GBR).
In the MC2 category it was Alexandre Leaute who matched his time trial gold with road race gold, winning solo from Arsian Gilmutdinov (RPC) and Ewoud Vromant (BEL). Meanwhile, the MC1 race went to Germany’s Pierre Senska, narrowly beating time trial winner Ricardo Ten Argiles (ESP) and Mikhall Astashov (RPC).
Dame Sarah hits 40
Great Britain’s Dame Sarah Storey won the WC5 road race to claim her 40th world title, following her victory in the Thursday’s time trial. Storey beat Kerstin Brachtendorf (GER) who upgraded her time trial bronze to road silver and Alina Punina (RPC).
The WC4 road race, staged at the same time, went to Canada’s Marie-Claude Molnar for a time trial-road race double win, comfortably ahead of Elena Galkina (RPC) and Katell Alencon (FRA).
Sunday, the final day of the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships, sees tricycle and handbike events for all women’s and men’s sport classes.
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.