UCI World titles on the line in Pietermaritzburg
After the three rounds of the 2017 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, the world’s top para-cyclists are converging on Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, for the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships.
The Netherlands, the United States, and Germany topped the UCI World Cup medals rankings throughout the season, and arrive in Pietermaritzburg with excellent chances of once again seeing their athletes grace numerous podiums.
Italy was not far off the top three, due in large part to their impressive results in men’s hand-cycling. At the first UCI World Cup round “at home” in Maniago, Italy earned a staggering 19 medals.
In Pietermaritzburg, host nation South Africa will also field a strong team, not least with Pieter Du Preez (H1). Du Preez already has three road UCI World Championship titles to his name. Du Preez is also a talented para-athlete: he took part in the para-athletics at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and in 2011 won World Championships silver in the 200m (T51). If that wasn’t enough, Du Preez is also the first quadriplegic athlete to have completed an Ironman triathlon. In 2016, his impressive palmares earned him a nomination for the illustrious Laureus World Sports Awards.
As last year was a Parlaympic year, the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships were not held. At the 2015 UCI World Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland, Germany earned the most medals with 21 (6 gold, 9 silver, and 6 bronze). However it was Italy that managed to snap up the most rainbow jerseys (9) alongside 1 silver and 5 bronze medals. The United States completed the top trio with 18 medals (5 gold, 8 silver, and 5 bronze).