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News posted on Thursday 3rd August, 2023

Day 1 (track): Young talent shines as Kiwi Para cyclists kick off 2023 World Championships

The 2023 Cycling World Championships have gotten off to a flying start for the New Zealand Para Cycling Team. Paralympians Nicole Murray and Anna Taylor, and Para athlete Devon Briggs sped through Individual Pursuit qualification to earn places in the finals.

Meanwhile 18-year-old debutant Ben Westenberg delivered a massive PB to finish 5th in his first ever World Championships race. Westenberg, who was born with arthrogryposis, is in the C4 class. He is in Year 12 at Tauranga Boys College.

Para Cycling Programme Manager Brendon Cameron feels the young talent bodes well for Para cycling in New Zealand:

“I’m really impressed with the talent that Ben and Devon are demonstrating. They are aged just 18 and 19 respectively. To have them both in the top 5 in the world at this young age bodes well for the future of Para cycling.”

Paralympian #222 Nicole Murray started the action with the 3km Individual Pursuit. This qualified the 2022 track world champion for the gold medal ride, with a time of 3:40.946, +3.325 after France’s Heidi Gaugain in first place. Murray is a left-hand amputee following a childhood accident and competes in the highly contested C5 classification.

Murray is loving the atmosphere at Glasgow 2023 so far:

“There’s a real buzz about this huge ‘Super Worlds’, it’s great to be here training and competing alongside the able-bodied New Zealand Cycling Team. This is the first time every discipline of cycling has their world champs at the same time and place. Para cycling being included is great for the progression of our sport and recognition of Para athletes.

“Winning the rainbow jersey in last year’s World Championships was such a rush, it was a really incredible moment that I will never forget. I can’t wait to get out there and see what I can bring home for New Zealand this year!”

Paralympian #225 Anna Taylor hit out with a time of 3:48.545 for the same event in the C4 class. She finished +7.713 behind first place. It was a personal best effort for the Cambridge native. Her third placing earned her qualification for the bronze final. Previously an accomplished rower, Taylor received a C4 classification after Acute Cauda Equina Syndrome (compression of the nerve roots in the spine).

Para athlete Devon Briggs also qualified for the bronze final in the C3 classification. He placed 4th, +7.416 behind first place. The Cambridge Para cyclist was up first in his class and had a tense wait watching his peers compete. Initially he felt he had emptied the tank too soon:

“That was the hardest Pursuit I’ve done. Ever. It was good, it’s all learning, I’ll take away from that that I need to be relaxed and calm going into the race. Next up is the scratch race, so we’ll try to play that really smart and just ride a good race.”

 

The schedule for day 1 also saw the remainder of the 6 track Para cyclists compete in Individual Pursuit qualifiers. They delivered strong rides all round. Paralympian #213 Sarah Ellington was just shy of a personal best, finishing 5th in the C2 qualifier. Nick Blincoe placed 22nd in the C4 race.

About the 2023 World Championships

The UCI Cycling World Championships (opens a new tab) have been dubbed the ‘Super Worlds’. They bring together 13 different World Championships in various cycling disciplines into one massive event in Glasgow, Scotland. The Para cyclists will compete in track events until next Tuesday 8th August, and then contest road events from Wednesday 9th August through to Sunday 13th August.

Day 2 will see Ben Westenberg, Nick Blincoe and Nicole Murray compete. New Zealand’s best medal prospect will be Nicole Murray competing in the 500m Time Trial (finals 5.13am Friday).

See the schedule of when the New Zealanders compete. Livestreaming is available for some events, and links to the livestreams are provided on the schedule.

Results

Athlete

Event

Result

Sport Class

DAY 1

Nicole Murray

3Km Individual Pursuit Qualifying

2nd (qualified for gold final) +3.325 + PB

WC5

Anna Taylor

3Km Individual Pursuit Qualifying

 3rd (qualified for bronze final) +7.713 + PB

WC4

Sarah Ellington

3Km Individual Pursuit Qualifying

5th +22.023

WC2

Ben Westenberg

4Km Individual Pursuit Qualifying

5th +7.016 + PB

MC4

Nick Blincoe

4Km Individual Pursuit Qualifying

22nd +37.730

MC4

Devon Briggs

3Km Individual Pursuit Qualifying

4th (qualified for bronze final) +7.416

MC3

DAY 2

Nicole Murray

500m Time Trial Qualifying

3rd +0.998

WC5

Ben Westenberg

200m FS Time Trial

4th +0.962

MC4

Nick Blincoe

200m FS Time Trial

7th +1.232

MC4

Nicole Murray

500m Time Trial Finals

Bronze +0.639

WC5

DAY 3

Sarah Ellington

200m FS Time Trial

9th

WC2

Devon Briggs

 Kilometre Time Trial Qualifying

2nd (qualified for final)

MC3

Nick Blincoe

Kilometre Time Trial Qualifying

15th +6.901

MC4

Ben Westenberg

Kilometre Time Trial Qualifying

9th +4.833

MC4

Devon Briggs

Kilometre Time Trial Finals

 Bronze +0.644

MC3

Anna Taylor

10Km Scratch Final

4th

WC4 

DAY 4

Nicole Murray

200m FS Time Trial

4th

WC5

Nicole Murray

3Km Individual Pursuit Finals

Silver

WC5

Devon Briggs

15Km Scratch Finals

Bronze

MC3

DAY 5

Sarah Ellington

500m Time Trial Qualifying

9th

WC2

Devon Briggs

200m FS Time Trial

1st (non-medal event)

MC3

Anna Taylor

500m Time Trial Qualifying

5th +3.092

WC4

Nick Blincoe

15Km Scratch Finals

20th

MC4

Ben Westenberg

15Km Scratch Finals

Silver

MC4

Anna Taylor

500m Time Trial Finals

4th +2.604

WC4

Devon Briggs

3Km Individual Finals

Bronze

MC3

DAY 6

Anna Taylor

200m FS Time Trial

2nd (non-medal event)

WC4

Anna Taylor

3Km Individual Pursuit Finals

4th

WC4

Nicole Murray

10Km Scratch Finals

4th

WC5

DAY 7

TBC

Team Sprint Qualifying

9th

M/WC1-5

Sarah Ellington

10Km Scratch Final

8th

WC2

OMNIUM

Ben Westenberg

Omnium

Bronze

C4

Nick Blincoe

Omnium

11th

C4

Devon Briggs

Omnium

Bronze

C3

Anna Taylor

Omnium

Gold

C4

Sarah Ellington

Omnium

7th

C2

Nicole Murray

Omnium

Gold

C5

What do the classifications mean in Para cycling?

  • Classification groups Para cyclists with an eligible impairment into sports classes. They do this according to how much their impairment affects their ability to carry out the fundamental activities in their sport.
  • Para athletes who are able to use a standard bicycle (with approved adaptations) compete in the five sport classes C1-5.
  • Sport class C1 is allocated to athletes with the most severe activity limitation. The sport class C5 is allocated to athletes with minimum impairments.
  • The C1-5 sport classes include athletes with limb deficiency, impaired muscle power or range of motion and impairments affecting co-ordination, such as uncoordinated movements and involuntary movements.

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