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News posted on Saturday 14th May, 2022

Murray strikes GOLD, Malzbender SILVER in Para Cycling World Cup

Nicole Murray poses on the podium with two other Para athletes after winning gold

Key points:

  • New Zealand Para cyclists are in Germany for the UCI Para Cycling Road World Cup in Elzach.
  • All five New Zealanders achieved top ten finishes, including:
    • Paralympian Nicole Murray won GOLD in the Women’s C5 Time Trial – her first podium finish in road cycling ever, against some of the world’s top C5 Para cyclists.
  • Racing continues through the weekend with the Road Races.

ÅŒtorohanga native and Paralympian #222 Nicole Murray struck gold overnight in the UCI Para Cycling Road World Cup in Elzach, Germany. Finishing the Time Trial in a time of 42 minutes, 13 seconds earned Nicole her first ever podium finish in road cycling and she couldn’t be more delighted.

“Pretty stoked, eh! It was a great day. And my first podium finish in road cycling ever – that’s special.”

Nicole Murray after winning gold.

Coach Damian Wiseman says Nicole just keeps getting better and better – and her mindset was in just the right place for a great race today.

“This performance has been coming for a while. Everything was in the right place today. Before the race Nicole and Sarah (Ellington) warmed up together and they were focused and in good spirits. Nicole was calm, relaxed and focused.”

Murray, who is a left wrist amputee and rides with some adaptations on her bike, credits the Waikato’s hills with her success on the point-to-point uphill race in Elzach.

“Today was about strength. You couldn’t hide behind being able to take better lines on corners. The course played to my advantage – it felt like New Zealand. Living in a hilly spot has come in handy!”

Nicole Murray racing with a crowd in support.

Paralympian #220 Eltje Malzbender was also looking forward to the tough uphill course in Elzach. Originally from Germany, Eltje will spend her 60th birthday on the day of her final race there tonight. Taking home a silver medal in the T1 Time Trial on Friday makes a great birthday present for Eltje, who was especially pleased to beat current World Champion Shelley Gautier.

Coach Wiseman explains:

“They don’t come tougher than Eltje. She went out to ride really hard and deliver a ride on a course she really liked. With her ataxia affecting her balance and control of her trike she had additional challenges. But nothing stops her. She gave a strong ride up the hill, in spite of her ataxia and riding into several of the barriers.”

Coach Damian Wiseman, on Eltje Malzbender.
Eltje Malzbender takes off from the start gate.

Like Eltje, Paralympian #196 Stevo Hills also rides a tricycle. He was happy with the work he put in on the gruelling uphill course, finishing 7th in the Men’s T2 Time Trial. Stevo has right side hemiplegia, causing muscle weakness and partial paralysis on the right side of his body, which he developed when he was five years old, after he was hit by a motorbike as he crossed the road to catch the bus.

Paralympian #213 Sarah Ellington came 4th in the C2 class and is happy with her performance. Ellington, who lives in Greymouth fell from an apple tree in 2015, fracturing her T11 and T12 vertebrae, and had just a 2% chance of walking again.

Tauranga local and Paralympian #207 Fraser Sharp went into the C3 Time Trial “to show he meant business” in the words of Damian Wiseman. He delivered a strong ride, finishing 7th, and is looking forward now to the Road Race on Sunday. He is keen to bring his learnings from the racing in the recent World Cup in Ostend, Belgium, to the circuit in Elzach.

Wiseman is pleased with the performances of all the team, and can’t wait for the Road Races, which take place overnight tonight and Sunday night.

“We’ll see a technical section through the town – it’s a small German village with narrow streets, a lot of corners – then onto an out-and-back section which is up and downhill. It’s going to allow riders to split the field up more than we saw last week. That hill, it’s not going to allow riders to sit on and let someone else do the work.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what the hill will do. We have Para athletes who are looking forward to using the hill to their advantage – they will be able to extend themselves.”

Results will be shared on PNZ’s social media channels.

Elzach UCI Para Cycling Road World Cup Time Trial Results

Para athleteClassificationImpairment/conditionRaceAchievement
Sarah EllingtonC2Loss of muscle power / Incomplete spinal cord injuryWomen’s C2 Time Trial4th
Stevo HillsT2Neurological / Right Side HemiplegicMen’s T2 Time Trial7th
Eltje MalzbenderT1Traumatic Brain Injury/AtaxiaWomen’s T1 Time TrialSilver
Nicole MurrayC5Limb deficiency / left wrist amputeeWomen’s C5 Time TrialGold
Fraser SharpC3Ataxia / NeurologicalMen’s C3 Time Trial7th

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