New Zealand Para Cycling Team set sights on Tokyo 2020 on final day of UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships
On the final day of racing at the UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships New Zealand’s Fraser Sharp and Sarah Ellington held their own in top class fields of the road race events on challenging courses placing 8th and 6th respectively. The New Zealand Para Cycling concluded the Championships with a total of two medals won.
Rio 2016 Paralympian Fraser Sharp said, “It was pretty good out there. There was a big crash during the race which included a large bunch of riders, luckily, I missed it. I pushed on and managed to stay upright. Of course, it would have been nice to win but to avoid the crash was good. Next up for me is taking some time out to relax for a while. Then I have Outward Bound at home in November. I will then turn my sights to training on the track and I’m setting my sights on Tokyo 2020.“
Sarah Ellington said, “It went well today considering it was my first World Championships road race event. Definitely good to see how I went riding in the groups and also on my own for some parts of the 48.6km race. It was a big learning curve for me in terms of the tactics that the riders used today and how they altered their speed as part of that. Looking to the future this event has given me a lot of think about. I will go back to New Zealand and look in to the detail of how I rode in both the time trial and road race.“
Stu MacDonald (Para Cycling Head Performance Coach) said, “Overall I’m very pleased with the performances of the team both on and off the bike. The athletes raced superbly with the highlight being Stephen Hill’s bronze and silver in the time trial and road race. Fraser demonstrated huge amounts of gutsiness and commitment to being the best athlete he can be and this will stand him in good stead for the future leading into Tokyo 2020. Sarah’s learning curve was steep and the exposure here will really help her development path way of the next three years. She is an exciting prospect.“
He continued, “It has been a great team effort through the campaign. Although we are a small team we had a real sense of team spirit that reinforced and contributed to your team culture. The campaign has created a hunger within the team that will drive us on to become better in all areas of performance. It has been great to use the event as a benchmark and to see where other nations are in the different classifications. Next year we will have more opportunities to develop our riders on the international stage as the points scoring window opens for Tokyo 2020 qualifying spots. “
Stephen Hills – Men’s T2 Individual Time Trial – Bronze medal
Sarah Ellington – Women’s C3 Individual Time Trial – 6th
Fraser Sharp – Men’s – C3 Individual Time Trial – 7th
Stephen Hills – Men’s T2 Individual Road Race – Silver medal
Sarah Ellington – Women’s C3 Individual Road Race – 6th
Fraser Sharp – Men’s C3 Individual Road Race – 8th
• Fraser Sharp made his Paralympic debut in Rio 2016 and contested two road events. Fraser has a neurological disability that results in ataxia. He competes in the C3 classification.
• Sarah Ellington made her international debut at the UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships. Her journey to international competition has been fast – she attended a ACC Paralympics New Zealand Open Day in Auckland last October. She was subsequently invited to a talent identification camp, selected to the Para Cycling Development Squad and most recently the New Zealand Team for the UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships – all in less than a year. Sarah has an incomplete spinal cord injury resulting in loss of muscle power.