Meet some of the 2016 Paralympic Cycling women – Part 6, H1-3 handcyclists

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-21-21-37Because the Rio 2016 Paralympic Road Cycling isn’t being televised, I’ve been writing about some of the women who’ll be contesting the races, because they are such fantastic athletes with great stories, with some real jaw-dropping achievements.  You can read about the H4 and H5 handcyclists here, and the final installment is all about the H1-3 riders.  I can absolutely guarantee you won’t be disappointed by these women!

I described handcycling a little bit in that other piece, and as a reminder, in Rio there are two combined-category Handcycling ITTs on Wednesday 14th September – H4-5 and H1-3, with 1 gold in each, while the road races are H1-4 and H5 on 15th – and the startlists and livetimings should be available via the racing schedule.

As always, I haven’t managed to get to all of the riders, so if I’ve missed any facts, or your favourites, please let me know in the comments, or on twitter, and I’ll edit the information in.  And after the riders, I’ll tell you a little bit more about the courses.

So who’s competing in the H1, H2 and H3 categories?

Justine Asher, H2, South Africa

She’s only on her fourth year handcycling, and has won two World Championships golds.  Finding funding is very difficult for her, as there isn’t much funding for cycling, let alone paracycling, in  South Africa, but she’s hoping to inspire other disabled South Africans to get involved in sports, and raise awareness – in in turn, funding!

She’s had an interesting life – a former fashion model, who sued a biotech company for fraudulent stem cell treatment, and seems to have won.  She says her husband and children’s support is what enables her to race – and you can find out more in this Video profile, and another one here, including her talking about becoming World Champion – follow her on twitter

You can also watch her swim with sharks…

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Meet some of the 2016 Paralympic Cycling women – Part 4, H4-5 handcyclists

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-21-21-37We’ve moved from the 2016 Paralympic Track Cycling to the Road, and a category we haven’t seen yet in Rio – handcyclists.

Handcycling is ridden on bikes were the riders us their hands to pedal.  They can be recumbent, or riders can sit in them, depending on the categories, which run from H1-5.  As with all Paralympic categories, the lower the number, the more the athlete’s disability affects their sport, so an H1 handcyclist may be a paraplegic, and have limited movement in their torso, while an H5 rider may half, for example, a missing leg, and sit in her handbike.

There are two combined-category Handcycling ITTs on Wednesday 14th September – H4-5 and H1-3, with 1 gold in each, while the road races are H1-4 and H5 on 15th – and the startlists and livetimings should be available via the racing schedule.

None of the Road races will be streamed live, so I’ll tell you a bit about some of the women riders.  I haven’t managed to get to all of them, so if I’ve missed any facts, or your favourite riders, please let me know in the comments, or on twitter, and I’ll edit the information in.  And after the riders, I’ll tell you a little bit more about the courses.

So who’s racing?  I’ll start with the H4 and H5 handcyclists…

Laura de Vaan, H5, Netherlands

It’s her third Paralympics, and she’ll be looking to beat London, where she ended up with two medals – silver in the Road Race and bronze in the ITT.  She has to be one of the big riders to beat as the current Time Trial World Champion.  And if you want to find out about a handbiker, who better to ask questions than another handbiker?  Check out this interview with her by Christiane Reppe:

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