Meet some of the 2016 Paralympic Cycling women – Part 1, Tandem riders
Last week we got to see pretty much all the 2016 Paralympic Games Track Racing, which had some beautiful and brilliant moments, and was luxurious to see. Unfortunately the Road Cycling won’t be shown live, so we’ll have to rely on TV stations filming finishes, live timing on the Rio 2016 website (we hope) and maybe twitter.
Because there won’t be commentators telling us about the riders, I’ve pulled together some facts about some of them. I haven’t been able to get to every one of them, so if I’ve missed anything about your favourite rider, please do tell me in the comments or on twitter, and I’ll edit in the information, because there are some fantastic stories out there.
I’m starting with the Tandem riders, which I’ll do in country order, and I’ll tell you a little bit more about the Rio Tandem racing below the riders. Simply, a visually impaired Stoker sits behind a sighted Pilot, who’s in charge of steering. Tandem racing is all about partnership, as while racing tandems are really well engineered, they’re still a lot stiffer and harder to maneuver than a standard bicycle, especially in the corners and technical parts of the courses.
So who’s racing? The first rider in each pair is the Stoker, and the second is her Pilot.
Griet Hoet and Anneleen Monsieur, Belgium
The Belgian pair were 8th in the Kilometre Time Trial and 7th in the Pursuit – and you can find out more about Hoet in this video – and Monsieur talks about her role as Pilot in this interview.
Márcia Fanhani and Mariane Ferreira, Brazil
They got their Paralympic call-up very late, after Ukraine didn’t take up their place, so they’ve only have about two or three weeks to train – but you know know how the Brazilian crowds have got behind their riders, and this pair will have even more support because they’re starting with such a disadvantage. You can find out more about them on this news article, and this one.
Lora Turnham and Corrine Hall, Great Britain
Turnham and Hall have already won the Individual Pursuit, which they were completely delighted about, especially as they’d seen the New Zealand Pursuit squads as “unbeatable”, and they said the road races were their big target.
Turnham raced the London 2012 Paralympics with Fiona Duncan as her pilot, and her partnership with Hall started in 2013, and they’ve been Road World Champions in the Time Trial in 2013 and Road Race in 2014, with handfuls of other medals in the World Champs and Paracycling Road World Cups. There’s an interview with them from British Cycling, where they describe their roles, and what it takes to work together, and you can find Turnham’s palmares on her British Cycling profile.
Turnham and Hall are part of the Matrix Procycling UK domestic team – it’s a unique situation in UK teams, and one of the many innovations Matrix have made, because it was very important for them to support the pair. There’s a lovely interview with Lora Turnham on the Evans Cycles site, and she talked to the charity SENSE about her road to Rio.
Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal, Ireland
They were the first Irish women to win a medal in the Paracycling World Championships when they won silver in the 2014 Road Race, and while they were disappointed to come 5th in the Pursuit, they’ve regrouped, and will be going all out for Gold on the Road.
Dunlevy had ran as a child, then became a para-rower, being part of World Champion boats in 2004 and 2005, but was asked to try out for cycling in 2011, and she talks about that journey in this Sportwomen.ie interview. There’s profile of the pair on the UCI website, and Skoda Ireland made a series of videos about their Rio ambitions, starting below – and you can also watch Part 2 and Part 3. Follow them on twitter with the name links above
Larissa Klaassen and Haliegh Dolman, the Netherlands
Klassen and Dolman have already won silver in the Kilo Time Trial, and while they’re stronger on the track, in the Sprint and 500m, they’re also racing the Road Race and Time Trial. They race a really successful fundraising campaign to be able to get to Rio, and that site has a great selection of media about the pair . Klaassen’s only 22, I can’t wait to see what she does in the future.
Follow them on twitter – Klaassen and Dolman – and check out the NOS.NL article on them after their silver. And because Tandem sprinting is possibly my favourite track discipline ever, watch them at this year’s Track Worlds
Amanda Cameron and Hannah van Kampen, New Zealand
One of the things that gives me the shivers about the Paralympics and Olympics is thinking about the women and girls sitting at home who start to think “maybe I can do that too?”, and their lives take a new path. That’s what happened to Amanda Cameron, who was inspired to start racing in 2013, after finding out about Kiwi Philippa Grey winning a medal of each colour at the London 2012 Paralympics.
New Zealand are super-strong in the tandem, and both Pursuit Finals were GB v NZ, where Cameron and Van Kampen just missed out on a medal, coming fourth. Off the bike, Cameron is a Architectual Technician, and non-verbal communication will be even more important for her than for other riders, as she also has a hearing impairment. She is a fantastic blogger – start here with her “how I got into cycling” story, and check out the rest of her blog, with lots of photos. There’s an interview about her cochlear implant here, too.
Emma Foy and Laura Thompson, New Zealand
Foy and Thompson were disappointed to miss out of the Tandem Pursuit gold, after they won their third consecutive World Championships Pursuit in March this year. But they have another big goal in the Time Trial, and it’s bound to just make them more hungry. You can find out more about their partnership in this Stuff.co.nz article, with an embedded video, this Q&A about how their partnership has grown, and this video profile.
Foy’s and Thompson‘s profiles on Paralympics NZ – Thompson piloted Philippa Gray to her three London medals. Foy is Māori, and there are interviews with her from Māori TV, including this one on her and Thompson winning gold at the 2016 Track Worlds, and this one about the huge reception the Kiwi Para-cyclists got when they returned to NZ from Worlds.
In London 2012, Benítez won silver in the Road Race, behind Canadians Robbi Weldon and Lynne Bessette, and bronze in the 2013 and 2014 World Champs Road race – but are their medal-winning days behind them? Of course they’d say no! They have a shared twitter account, and Benítez‘ and Gómez‘ personal accounts, and they’re giving a great picture of what it’s like racing in Rio.
About the Tandem Road Cycling
The women Tandem pairs will be racing the 15km Time Trial on Wednesday 14th September, and the 45km Road Race on Saturday 17th – the TT is the P1A course, and the Road Race the P5 course, but I have to admit, these maps don’t make too much sense…
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. The other articles in this mini-series are here:
I’m funded to do my women’s cycling work by my wonderful Patreon supporters – thank you so much!