United Front: Para-cycling integrates with track programme for the first time
Today saw the merging of Track and Para-Cycling Track World Championships into one integrated event for the first time.
There is much that is unique about the 2023 Cycling World Championships, but the elements that perhaps represents the biggest step forward for the sport is the merging of Track and Para-Cycling Track World Championships into one integrated event.
In the past, Track and Para-Cycling Track World Championships have taken place separately, with dedicated events running concurrently for the first time in Paris in 2022, but never before have the events been combined, and the resulting impact for the sport of Para-Cycling cannot be underestimated.
Two track sessions a day will see events from both the non-disabled and para-cycling programme alternate, leading to increased visibility and parity for the para athletes, and offering fans the chance to take in events they would otherwise have had to visit on two separate occasions to enjoy.
With 11 different events on the programme, para-cycling athletes compete in exactly the same disciplines as their non-disabled counterparts, in different categories depending on their classification. The classification system determines which para-cyclists are eligible to contest the same events, depending on their level of impairment.
It’s a shift that presents the opportunity for a global audience to view the para-cyclists on the same playing field as their non-disabled counterparts, and witness in person the modifications that different classifications employ in order to compete at the highest level.
Among the British riders competing in the para-cycling track events include decorated Olympian Dame Sarah Storey and Scottish World Champion Fin Graham, who will defend his 2022 titles on both the road and in three events on the track, in the C3 category.
UCI World and Paralympic Champion, Jody Cundy, who appeared on BBC’s The One Show on Wednesday 2nd August to discuss the Championships, said: “Having para-cycling track integrated with track for the first time, will make it especially exciting to be part of this inaugural event. Performing in front of a home crowd and hearing and feeling their energy is going to be quite special.’
It’s a refreshing departure from the norm that will hopefully inspire future championships to follow suit. To find out more about the events taking place on the track over the next 7 days, check out our explainer article, below.