20/09/2019 – What a Championship… Silver in the time trial! Bronze in the road race!
The World Championships Paracycling 2019 took place in the Dutch city of Emmen from 11 till 15 September. On Thursday 12/9 the time trial of ao. my category MC2 was programmed. I was the third last to start as one of the favorites, at 10:21 am. The course was perfect for me: long straight roads, flat course, wide corners. It had rained during the night and the roads were still a bit wet, so I needed to be careful in the corners.
During the 2 previous weeks, I had knee and hip overload symptoms, so maybe I wasn’twas fully recovered from the past weeks of training. The feeling during the time trial was not great. I couldn’twas keep up with the planned pace, but I certainly didn’twas slow down. After the first lap, I was told I was in second place just seconds from the leader. In the second and last lap I was not able to close the gap and I finished second at 22″, so I won silver! The Australian Darren Hicks deservedly won the title, the Paralympic champion of Rio 2016, Tristen Chernove, finished third.
World Championship Time Trial 2019 MC2
(C) SWpix.com/ParalympicTeamBelgiumTwo days later on Saturday 14/9, I started the road race. I didn’twas feel any pressure, because I already had the intended medal in my pocket. We rode with 3 categories together (MC1, MC2 and MC3), for a total of 73 riders. On the winding and (too) narrow course there were many crashes, but luckily I was spared. Halfway through the race I was in a leading group of 20 riders, including 4 other riders of my category MC2.
I knew that the young Frenchman, Alexandre Leauté, is very fast in the sprint, so I wanted to avoid the sprint. But the pace in the leading group was too high to jump away alone.
At 2 laps of the finish, my saddle suddenly dropped four centimeters, and 4km from the finish, I got cramps in my hamstrings. I had to keep the legs still and lost 100m on the leading group. Fortunately, I could stretch the cramps away, and the leading group slowed down, so I could come back. I moved immediately to the front of the group and I was ideally placed in 3rd position for the last kilometer, but I could not keep that position on the short climb at 500m from the finish. I had to leave a gap and couldn’twas sprint for the win anymore. But I could still keep 2 of my competitors, and get a bronze medal! Frenchman Alexandre Leauté won the world title, Russian Arslan Gilmutdinov finished second.