- Written by Tony Pedeferri
- Published: 25 April 2013
For Official Event Results, Click HERE.
*New* For some great photographs from the event, checkout Shane Orr's photos, HERE.
On Sunday, following the road race at the Greenville SC Para-cycling Open, Carlos Moleda (Paralyzed Veterans Racing) didn't have much to say. He merely shook his head and said “I never saw him after the first few kilometers.” Moleda – who is in great form and has been riding well this season – was referring to H3 Canadian rider, Mark Ledo (Team Canada), who – for the third time this season at a race in the U.S. – took an impressive, wire-to-wire victory.
After a win in Saturday's time trial, where he beat Tom Davis (Paralyzed Veterans) by just 54 seconds, Ledo clearly had a plan for Sunday's road race, and why not ? It had already worked twice this season. Ledo would end up finishing over nine minutes ahead of Moleda, and eventual 3rd-placed finisher, Butch Martin (Invacare / Top End), and it will be interesting to see if Ledo can hold his form through the 2013 World Championships, which will be in his home country, in late August.
Greenville's road race course – who some wondered about – proved to be very difficult (particularly when the wind picks up), as Ledo managed to lap all but Moleda, Martin, Davis, Rafael Ibarra & Michael Postell (Shepherd Center), and Jeff Snover (Paralyzed Veterans). Despite being a lap down, Owen Daniels (PossAbilities), David Swaim (Paralyzed Veterans), Jose Pulido (Shepherd), and Dennis Clark would finish the race.
Although the Greenville Para-cycling Open serves as a “test event” for the 2014 World Championships, it's a pretty significant event in its own right, and this year's race included 115 athletes (across all Para-cycling categories) from eight countries.
While Ledo dominated the H3 category, the H2 category (the largest category of the weekend) saw a great North American battle that included the time trial winner, Matt Updike (Hincapie Sportswear / Invacare), the Roger C. Peace Team duo of David Randall and Will Lachenauer, and a surprising newcomer to the sport: Canadian rider Charles Moreau. Moreau put himself on the American's radar after a silver in Saturday's time trial behind Updike, but his road race chops were unknown. Moreau – a former triathlete – proved himself a worthy adversary as he hung tough throughout the 55 kilometer race in very windy conditions. Lacheneauer, the triple national champion in 2012, worked hard to stay in the group as he honed his Spring fitness, while Updike admitted post-race that the long, windy race took its toll: “It was just hard, and nobody was taking it easy...” With one to go, Lachenauer sought respite at the back of the group while Randall looked the most comfortable, riding second wheel. In the final kilometer, the pace was too fast for Lachenauer, and Updike followed suit with 300 meters to go, and it was down to Randall and Moreau...but it was the Canadian who proved strongest, with a solid sprint win over Randall, who managed his second silver medal in as many days.
Meanwhile, the rest of the H2 field battled the windy course, and small groups began to form. Canadians Rico Morneau and Jimmy Pelletier would both hold on for 5th and 6th, while the Paralyzed Veterans duo of Craig Cornwall and Geoff Hopkins worked together to finish strong in 7th and 8th, respectively. Michael Parker, Jake Freeland (Paralyzed Veterans), Tim Conner (Roger C. Peace), and Ryan Barnett rounded out the H2 field.
Women H1-3 and Men H1
On Sunday, the women's handcycles and men's H1 athletes started their road race together, and Tony Pedeferri (Roger C. Peace Para-cycling) was looking for some redemption after a drivetrain problem caused him to DNF in the time trial, leaving the door open for another Canadian, Robert Labbe to grab the TT win. With a quick pace set from the gun by Monica Bascio (WH3, Roger C. Peace Para-cycling), Pedeferri followed suit and left Labbe (Team Canada) looking for a slipstream, which he found with Thea Rosa (WH3, Victory Velo Racing). Meanwhile Cassie Mitchell (U.S. Handcycling) rode strongly despite being the only women's H1 rider in the event.
Pedeferri, who – along with his other H1 counterparts – did not have to worry about overheating thanks to the cool temperatures, continued to ride hard as Bascio disappeared in to the distance...but Labbe was not giving up as he eventually rode away from Rosa in search of the American, Pedeferri. In time, all four riders settled in to their own groove, with Bascio winning the women's race, and Pedeferri finishing over seven minutes ahead of the Canadian, Labbe to take the men's H1 victory. Delmon Dunston (PossAbilites), who finished 2nd in the time trial, did not start the road race due to illness.
In the men's H4 category, it was an international affair, that included the Italian superstar, Alex Zanardi (Team Barilla Blu). Zanardi – who won the time trial by over a minute-and-a-half – would line up with Dutch rider, Tim deVries (Bewegingsvisie), and American riders Dane Pilon of Achilles (who is no stranger to winning in Greenville), Freddie de Los Santos (Paralyzed Veterans Racing), Anthony Robinson (Paralyzed Veterans), Omar Duran, and Greg Damerow.
For the first two laps, it looked as if it was a four-man race, with Zanardi and deVries setting the pace while Pilon and the suprising de Los Santos – who recently switched to the kneeling position – hung on. But the dutchman, deVries, pushed the pace on lap #3, and only Zanardi could match the pace. Pilon gave chase, but to no avail, and had to work hard to shake crowd favorite, de Los Santos.
At the front, deVries continued to challenge Zanardi, and the two raced hard throughout the entire race, until deVries corageously opened up the sprint with 250 meters to go. The sprint unfolded spectacularly in to the stiff headwind up the misleadingly steep finish stretch, but it was the Italian, Zanardi who had the extra gas in the tank and pulled away in the last 20 meters for the big win.
Zanardi would later tweet that his average watts during the race were higher than the London road race, which he also won, albeit over a much bigger, international field.
Pilon would hang on for 3rd, and de Los Santos would finish 4th, which we would consider a stellar debut for the wounded warrior. Robinson, Duran, and Damerow would finish 5th, 6th, and 7th, respectively.
With the Greenville Para-cycling Open in the bag...the stage is set for the 2014 Para-cycling World Championships, which we now fully expect to be...the best ever!
For Official Event Results, Click HERE.