On Saturday, the penultimate day of the 2019 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships, the action switched from time trial to road race, the parcours also swapping from Emmen city centre to the streets of Meerdijk, which hosted the 2017 and 2018 UCI World Cups.
And clearly the road races suited the Chinese riders as they rolled out a collectively dominant display, winning three golds and a bronze to climb the medal table. China’s day to remember began in the men’s C4 category as Guoping Wei held off Russia’s Sergei Pudov over the 88.8km parcours (12 laps of the 7.4km course). Pudov had to be content with his – and Russia’s – second silver (and second medal) of the championships.
No sooner had Wei won gold than teammate Xiaomei Wang added to the tally in the women’s C3 51.8km road race. Wang repeated the form that won her UCI Track World Championship gold at the C3 women’s scratch earlier in the year at Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, claiming the title ahead of Japan’s Keiko Sugiura. Confidence flooded through the team, sending Wangwei Qian to women’s gold in 1:37:00. Qian edged Great Britain’s Katie Toft, who won her second silver of the championships.
Of course, it wasn’t all about one nation. Saturday began with the longest road race of the day – the men’s blind tandem over 103.6km (14 laps of the 7.4km circuit) – with victory going to Tristan Bangma and pilot Patrick Bos of The Netherlands. It was a great start for the home nation and a superb result for 21-year-old Bangma. Adolfo Bellido Guerrero and Noel Martin Infante of Spain finished second with Poland’s Marcin Polak and Michal Ladosz in third.
In the women’s blind tandem road race, it was a reversal of the time-trial event as New Zealand’s Emma Foy and pilot Hannah van Kampen won gold ahead of Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal (IRE). Third went to Justyna Kiryla and Aleksandra Teclaw of Poland.
In the men’s C5 road race, Andrea Tarlao won Italy’s sixth gold medal of the championships. Bronze went to Alistair Donohoe – Australia’s second medal of the day, not quite matching the heady seven golds of the first three days. And chapeau to Maike Hausberger of Germany who’s the 2019 C2 UCI World Champion.
The final five events of the day comprised nine laps of the 7.4km course for a 66.6km total with the following four riders winning their respective categories: Steffen Warias (GER), men’s C3; Alexandre Léauté won France’s first medal of the championships – and it was gold – in the C2; Ricardo Ten Argilés won Spain’s first gold in the C1; and the USA’s Shawn Morelli won C4 gold. But special mention is reserved for Great Britain’s Dame Sarah Storey who added to her time-trial gold, making it 31 world titles across swimming and cycling. Incredible.
Saturday ended with China climbing up to joint second with Italy in the medal table with eight medals, including six golds, each. Australia remain at the top with seven golds and 13 medals in total. We’re all primed to discover what happens on Sunday’s finale.