We’ve just finished a fantastic set of Track Cycling races that were all broadcast live – but since the Rio 2016 Paralympic Road Races won’t be televised, I thought I’d tell you a bit about some of the women who’ll be racing. Of course I don’t have space for all of them, so if you have fun facts about riders I’ve missed, please do tell me, in the comments, or on twitter, and I’ll edit it in.
I’ve looked at the Tandem riders already, and now it’s the turn of the C1-3 Bike riders. By far the biggest Paralympic category is riders on bicycles, and there are 5 categories, with C1 being the riders whose disabilites impact their cycling the most, and C5 the least. There are a mix of visible and invisible disabilities within the same category – and different disabilities impact cycling in different ways – for example, a rider who can’t grip as hard, or pull on the bars, could find the climbing hard than a rider with a prosthetic etc. Bikes may be modified to help riders in different ways, too.
The women’s C1-3 categories race together for just 1 gold – the Time Trial on Wednesday 14th September, and the Road Race on Friday 16th – the schedule is here, and I hope there’ll be some form of live-timing. I’ve put some information about the races at the bottom of the post – along with how I’ll be following them.
So, who’s racing?
Roxanne Burns, C3, South Africa
Roxy Burns is on her third Paralympics, and she’ll be racing the ITT in Rio, her last Paralympics at 28, and she’s looking to end on a high. As her genetic condition, Ataxia Telangiectasia, is degenerative, she’s recently been reclassified from a C4 to a C3, and came 10th in the 500m and 11th in the Individual Pursuit. She is this positive person, who has said:
“I’m blessed to have AT so mildly. In fact, I’m grateful that I’m disabled. People find it strange when I say that, but I wouldn’t have had so many opportunities or have met so many people from all over the world otherwise.”
Find out more about her in this article,She talks a little bit about some of the issues with the categories in the video below, and how her medical condition effects her cycling, including not being able to train as much. Follow her on twitter at @roxy_burns.
Tereza Diepoldová, C2, Czech Republic
While she was 11th in the Track 500m, and 9th in the Pursuit, her big events are still to come, and she is a much stronger road rider, and was silver medallist in the London C1-3 Time Trial. You don’t have to understand Czech to pick up her story in this little video:
She started off swimming, including racing in the 2004 and 2008 Paralympics, and moved to cycling in 2010. Off the bike is a sports teacher working with people with Learning Disabilities, and stood for election for the European Parliament in 2014, on a platform to work for people with disabilities and children, but wasn’t elected. Read more about her in this article in Czech (or via google translate)
Megan Giglia, C3, Great Britain
Giglia won the first Paralympics gold of the Games, the C1-3 Individual Pursuit and has been huge on British TV, because her story is a reminder that anyone can become disabled at any time, as she suffered a stroke in 2013, which changed her life completely – as she says in this Instagram post, talking about the 500m, where she was 5th.
She took up cycling to help her fitness after the stroke, and to help her mental health, joined the ParaT cycling team, and this year became World Champion in the 500m and the Individual Pursuit, There’s a profile of her Channel 4 and from the BBC, including why she’s dedicating each win to a different person who’s had a Stroke – and something similar in this British Cycling video:
Allison Jones, C2, USA
The 2012 C1-3 ITT winner, with a bronze medal in the Road Race, she was the flag-bearer for the USA in the Rio Opening Ceremony, in her 8th Paralympic Games, as she also competes in skiing in the Winter Games – she won a slalom gold in 2006, and two silvers in 2002.
I always like the stories she tells on her website her blog (I really liked her innovative transport solution to help her on her journey to and around London), which has stories from her racing, and from her everyday life –and you can also follow her on twitter, where she’s @JonezyRocks.
She has a mechanical engineering degree from University of Denver , where she won the Pioneer Award, the school’s highest undergraduate honour. She plans to get a Masters in prosthetics and orthotics, and works at Titan Robotics, designing and creating prosthetics using 3D printing, including the one her team-mate Billy Lister will be using, with an ultimate goal of making prosthetics more innovative, and especially cheaper. There’s a bit more information about her own prosthetic on the Titan website.
Simone Kennedy, C3, Australia
She’s one of the cyclists who thought “if they can do that, so can I”, watching the 2008 Paralympics on TV aged 14, and 4 years later she was the youngest member of the Aussie Paralympic cycling team, a late call-up who came home with a silver in the Individual Pursuit. In Rio, she had a difficult Track session, with problems in the starts of both of her races, and came 8th in the Pursuit and 9th in the 500m, so hopefully her ITT and Road Race will go better for her. She’s still very young, only 22, so there is plenty of time for her to win plenty more medals.
Alongside her cycling, she’s studying a degree in Sports Coaching and Administration at the Australian College of Physical Education in Sydney. There’s a profile of her from the Australian Paralympic Committee, you can find out more about her on her website, and follow her on twitter,
Daniela Carolina Munevar Florez, C2, Colombia
Aged only 21, Caro Munevar is the first ever Colombian woman cyclist in the Paralympic Games, and has aready come 5th in both the 500m and Individual Pursuit. She’s from Cucaita, the hometown of cycling legend, Rafael Niño, and started racing at age 14, in the cycling school named after him, until the accident in 2014, which resulted in her left leg being amputated. She decided, if she couldn’t be an able bodied cycling champion, she’d create history in Paracyling, and she’s doing so well,
Coming from the the state of Boyacá (the home state of Nairo Quintana), where cycling is huge, even compared to the rest of bike-crazy Colombia, she’ll have a lot of support, and I really recommend following the Colombian Paracycling team twitter account, as they’re very good about sharing all the information they can – and of course, follow Munevar on her twitter too,
Alyda Norbruis, C2, the Netherlands
Although Alyda Norbruis is more of a track specialist, winning the first 2016 Paralympic Games medal for the Netherlands, Bronze in the C1-3 Individual Pursuit, before going on to win Gold in the 500m (click through to those links for the NOS.nl reports and videos about her medals, with interviews), she’s also racing the ITT and Road race.
She competed for years in basketball and Alpine skiing, but her dream was to compete in the Paralympics, and when she couldn’t qualify for the Dutch Winter Paralympic team for 2010, she decided to look elsewhere for another chance – and one of the sports she explored was cycling. She quickly fell in love with the bike and the sport, riding in all weathers, and found she got better and better on the track, first becoming World Champion in the 500m, which she’s been for the last three years.
You can find out more about her journey to Rio on her website (scroll down), and follow her on her twitter. A brain hemorrhage at birth left her paralysed down her left side, and with Cerebal Palsy, and if you’re interested in the adaptations that have been made to her bikes so that everything can be controlled by her right hand, and adaptations to help her drink while racing on the road, there’s a page on her website (or via google translate)
Amanda Reid, Australia
At just 19, Indigenous Australian Reid is one of the youngest Paracyclists in Rio – and at 15, she was one of the youngest Paralympians in London 2012. Born with Cerbal Palsy, she had competed in a whole range of sport, but swam because she was able to get to international competitions – in Paracycling, as in Able-Bodied cycling, riders have to be over 18 to race elites, and there are no UCI Junior races for Paracyclists.
She took up cycling seriously 11 months ago, after she fell in love with bikes, and her first international competition was the Track World Champs in March, where she won silver in the 500m, and she had the same results on the Rio track. She says she’s riding the Road Race and ITT for fun – but don’t discount her! And very definitely, watch out for what she does in the future, because she’s still learning with every race. More about her in the Saturday Paper.
Jamie Whitmore, C3, USA
Her Silver in the C1-3 Individual Pursuit was the first USA Paralympic medal at the Rio Games, and
She started as an able bodied MTB rider and triathlete, and combined the two when she discovered Xterra, an off-road triathlon. She’d won 37 victories, including six national titles and world titles, until in 2008, she learned that she had a rare form of cancer, and had to have parts of her lower leg and foot removed. And, and she writes on Huffington Post, just as she was adapting to life with a disability, she found out she was pregnant with twins!
There are photos and a short video of her in this Sports Illustrated profile, and while her website doesn’t seem to have been updated since 2013, but it has a ton of information about her life and her journey – and you can follow her twitter, @GutzyTriGirl
More articles highlighting riders on the UCI website – and the rest of this min-series:
About the C1-3 road racing
The time trials for the C1-3 women are a flat 10km – the P1A course below. The C1-3 women’s Road Race is 23.7km, 2 laps of the P3 course, which includes the first part of the Grumari circuit that we saw in the Able Bodied ITT and Road Races – though I have to admit, the information isn’t especially clear in the maps below:
Hopefully there will be livetiming for each race via the Schedule here.
I’ve written a guide on to how to follow the racing, and you can follow the Paralmypian Cyclists on twitter with this list – and you can catch up with all the Rio Track Cycling action in my collection of videos and media.
I’m funded to do my women’s cycling work by my wonderful Patreon supporters – thank you so much!