NZ Para Cycling Team makes great start at UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships
The New Zealand Para Cycling Team got off to a great start in Italy over night with Rory Mead placing 4th in the Men’s H2 Time Trial at the UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships.
The conditions in Italy have been challenging with temperatures regularly in the high 30s as the Team prepared throughout the week. Today in particular Rory had to adapt quickly as the sky’s opened with torrential rain just before start time. However, he navigated the course with confidence coming in 4th and over 50 seconds ahead of 5th place German rider Mariusz Frankowski. The World Championship title was won by Luca Mazzone (Italy).
Rory Mead said: “It has been my goal since the beginning of the year to place 4th at the World Championships so I’m really pleased with today. Today has given me a lot of confidence going into the road race on Saturday as I know I’m stronger than most of the guys out there and I can definitely pull off another top position. I’m aiming for another 4th, if not a podium finish.“
Stu MacDonald (Head Para Cycling Coach) said: “Rory’s result today was a real testament to his work ethic and preparation over the last few months. To come from 6th at the UCI Para Cycling Road World Cup in May to 4th today at the World Championships is a great result. This standard of competition is very high here in Italy.“
Today was Rory’s international debut in the New Zealand Para Cycling Team at the UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships. Based in the USA and originally from Wellington, Rory was a champion motocross rider and was competing in the sport he loved when he sustained a spinal cord injury.
Rory believes his background as a high performance athlete for the last decade including his motocross career has helped him with his transition to hand cycling even though he has only been in the sport for 3 years.
He said: “The lifestyle of a serious athlete is what has helped me progress in Para cycling. I’m used to the intensive training, nutritional requirements and recovery. I feel like I am a step ahead of many of the less experienced Para athletes in that respect.“
Day 2 tomorrow (Friday) will see the remainder of the New Zealand Para Cycling Team in action racing their respective Time Trial events. The first rider will be Nicole Murray starting at 7:03pm NZT.