UCI World Champions all return to defend titles in Rio
When the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships open on Thursday, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, they will be the ninth edition administered by the UCI and the first to be held in South America.
Taking place at the Velodromo Municipal do Rio, it will mark the first time since the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games that an International Federation has returned to the Barra Olympic Park for an event of this stature.
A total of 171 athletes (50 women and 121 men) from 30 countries are registered to participate at these Championships across four days of competition. Riders will compete in the mass start Scratch, team sprint and tandem sprint, and individual timed events, including the 500 metre and 1,000 metre time trial, 3,000 metre and 4,000 metre individual pursuit.
Watch it live here
All of the defending UCI World Champions will be attending these Championships. Among them will be Great Britain's Sophie Thornhill, who won all three of the women's tandem titles – individual pursuit, 1,000 metre time trial and sprint. Double winners for men's individual pursuit and time trial include the Canadian men's duo of Ross Wilson (C1) and Tristen Chernove (C2) and the American women Amanda Reid (C2) and Shawn Morelli (C4).
Other multiple Champions who will compete are James Ball of Great Britain (men's tandem) for the 1,000 metre time trial and sprint, and American athlete Joseph Berenyi (C3) for the individual pursuit and, with 1,000 metre time trial defending Champion Chris Murphy (C5), the team Sprint.
Of equal significance is the number of Paralympic Champions who are returning to Rio; all but three will compete at these World Championships, led by double gold medalists Li Zhangyu (C1) of China, who won both the time trial and individual pursuit, and Jody Cundy (C4) of Great Britain, who won the time trial and was a member of the winning team sprint squad. Cundy is also the defending World Champion in the men's C4 time trial.