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RoadNats welcomes Virtus World Series for athletes with impairment

Cyclists with intellectual impairment competing at a Virtus World Cycling Series event

Cyclists from France, South Korea and Kazakhstan will race in Ballarat this week to contest a new competition for athletes with intellectual impairment.

Since 2020, the Federation University Road National Championships have awarded titles for athletes with intellectual impairment. This year, the event extends its welcome to overseas visitors, hosting the inaugural round of the Virtus Cycling World Series.

This new series has been designed by Virtus, the international sports federation for athletes with intellectual impairment, to create more opportunities and provide increased flexibility for cyclists with intellectual impairments worldwide. It will include events in both the southern and northern hemispheres.

Virtus categorises athletes into three categories:

  • II-1: athletes with an intellectual disability;

  • II-2: athletes with an intellectual disability and significant additional impairment;

  • II-3: athletes with autism.

Seven Australian riders are slated to compete in Ballarat. They include defending national champion Cameron Marshall, who was the top Australian finisher at the 2023 Virtus Global Games in France.

Their international competitors are Kazakhstan’s Dastan Ordabay (II-3), South Korea’s Jongwoong Won (II-1), and a team of five from France, including 17-year-old Louis Fuhrmann (II-1) who won six gold medals at the Virtus Games.

Riders will compete in an 18-kilometre time trial, 5-kilometre criterium and 40-kilometre road race, with prizes awarded for both the Australian championships and the Virtus series.

The event is hosted in partnership with AusCycling and Sport Inclusion Australia, which is a national sporting organisation established to assist the inclusion of people with an impairment, primarily an intellectual impairment, into the mainstream community using sport as the medium.

Federation University Australia is hosting a series of coaching and sport science seminars during the week, including a presentation on coaching persons with an intellectual disability.

The next Virtus Cycling World Series event will be held in Europe towards the end of the year.

Photo: Sport Inclusion Australia


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