Team G.B. tandems sweep L.A. podiums
The Tandem Time Trial was a thoroughly British affair Saturday night, on the third day of competitions at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles.
Members of Team G.B. put five of their duos on the podium, sweeping it entirely in the Women’s class and going one-two in the Men’s class.
After their victory in the Pursuit on Thursday, Sophie Thornhill and pilot Corrine Hall claimed another World title. World Champion in the Kilo event in 2014 and 2015, Thornhill had to settle for silver at the 2016 Worlds.
“After the first day, we knew that we were in good shape to do well. It’s quite an achievement to win gold in the Kilo, after having lost it last year,” commented the two-time medallist from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The duo’s time of 1 minute 9.552 seconds put them ahead of teammates Lora Fachie and Hazel MacLeod, silver medallists. Alison Patrick – at her para-cycling debut, but already a Paralympic bronze medallist in triathlon – grabbed the bronze medal, alongside pilot Helen Scott.
In Men’s racing, James Ball and pilot Matt Rotherham were crowned World Champions. Even though the pair have only been working together for a few short months, they hit the top of the podium thanks to a time of 1 minute 00.727 seconds. Reigning World Champion Neil Fachie and pilot Craig MacLean (1 minute 2.039 seconds) settled for silver. Rounding out the podium was Australian duo Kieran Murphy and Lachlan Glasspool.
Cut/paste for Shawn Morelli
After having donned the rainbow jersey in Friday’s Time Trial, Shawn Morelli added another gold medal and title to her impressive career. In the C4 Individual Pursuit final, the American – who also won the event in 2016 – dominated the track, catching Canada’s Marie-Claude Molnar before the end of the 3000 m race.
“I was little tired from the effort yesterday and just tried to stay loose and be ready.
“It’s really exciting to win back-to-back titles on our own track in front of our own crowd, especially my in front of my family. It’s just a great feeling,” commented Morelli.
Teammate and California native Samantha Bosco earned her first World title in the C5 Pursuit. “I don’t even know how to put it into words. It’s indescribable. I’m thankful for it, and it’s not just a medal for me, it’s a medal for all of the people who believe in me and support me along the way,” commented the para-cyclist, surely referring to family support such as that from her Great Uncle, who passed away on Valentine’s Day.
In Men’s racing, the rainbow jerseys went to Slovak Jozef Metelka (C4) and Great Britain’s Jonathan Gildea (C5).
Coming in second during qualifications, Gildea got the better of Brazil’s Lauro Cesar Chaman in the final, thereby earning himself his first World Championships gold medal. “It’s incredible. I really focused on the Pursuit and it paid off in the final against the Brazilian athlete,” analyzed Gildea.
In the C4 final, Jozef Metelka caught Team Australia’s Kyle Bridgwood to grab the gold. “It was a good day of racing today,” mused the World Champion. “I wasn’t sure how it would go, but I stuck to my race plan and things turned out as we had hoped.”
Polond’s Anna Harkowska also earned herself a rainbow jersey Saturday night, dominating the Scratch race in the C4-C5 category. In the C1-C3 category, American Jamie Whitmore took home the gold.