Following Friday’s sweltering conditions in Ballarat for the criteriums, Australia’s para-cyclists took advantage of the cool change as they contested the road races at the 2019 FedUni Road National Championships.
Australia’s best para-cycling classifications tackled the Mount Buninyong course for the first time in championship history, with fans lining the course to support their heroes.
“It was absolutely awesome, we don’t usually have anybody on the course cheering for us because last year we weren’t on the same course and it was very quiet on the road,” said Carol Cooke (VIC), triple Paralympic and seven-time world champion, who claimed her ninth straight national crown in the T2 (Tricycle) event.
“To go up Mount Buninyong and have people with cowbells and big horns and most of them had programs so they were yelling our names which was even better, it was absolutely incredible.
“For people like myself who have been overseas and have experienced that before at international races, we love seeing it, especially for the riders who have never experienced that before because it just spurs you on going up the mountain.”
Dual reigning world champion Emilie Miller lit up the course in her rainbow jersey as she defended her H1 (Handcycle) national crown.
“It’s always motivating to do the rainbow jersey proud when you’re wearing it, and when you are wearing it, you will always have a great ride,” Miller exclaimed.
“It was also gratifying to have so many people out cheering us on across the course, also considering how challenging the course is.”
2018 road and track world medallist Darren Hicks also defended his title by winning the Men’s C2 race.
“It was really good to ride the main Buninyong hill as it will definitely prepare us quite well for the World Cup and World Champs to come for the rest of the year,” Hicks said.
“It’s been a big goal this year to become a contender for the world level on both the track and the road, so I’m really stoked.”
2018 Para-cycling Road World Cup champion Stuart Tripp claimed gold in the men’s H5 category.
“It’s always a great honour to win the green and gold,” said Tripp. “It’s a great course, it’s the first time we’ve done this course and it’s wonderful.”
The FedUni Road Nationals para-cycling time trials will be contested from 9am on Monday 7 January, with a UCI Category race on Tuesday which carries valuable points toward the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
2018 Para-cycling Road Champions
Men’s C1 – Darcy Thompson (Port Adelaide CC)
Men’s C2 – Darren Hicks (Norwood CC)
Men’s C3 – David Nicholas (Mackay Cycling Club)
Men’s C4 – Kyle Bridgwood (Townsville Cycle Club)
Men’s C5 – Daniel Van Der Laan (Sydney Uni Velo Club)
Men’s H1 – Grant Nickel (Newcastle Cycling Club)
Men’s H3 – Alex Welsh (Leongatha Cycling Club)
Men’s H4 – Grant Allen (Port Adelaide CC)
Men’s H5 – Stuart Tripp (St Kilda Cycling Club)
Men’s T2 – Stuart Jones (Newcastle Cycling Club)
Men’s Tandem – Don Mankewich (Vikings Cycling Club ACT)
Women’s Tandem – Lindy Hou (Vikings Cycling Club ACT)
Women’s C3 – Paige Greco (Port Adelaide CC)
Women’s C4 – Meg Lemon (Port Adelaide CC)
Women’s H1 – Emilie Miller (Bathurst CC)
Women’s T1 – Gabrielle Vassallo (Sutherland Shire CC)
Women’s T2 – Carol Cooke (St Kilda Cycling Club)