Whitmore wins Para-cycling track world championships title

By Katie Branham | April 10, 2014, 3 p.m. (ET)

Jamie Whitmore set a world record as she won her first track cycling world championship title in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico -  Jamie Whitmore won the women’s C3 500-meter time trial as Team USA won four medals on the first day of competition at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships at the Bicentenary Velodrome.

Despite hot and humid conditions with temperatures inside the velodromes soaring into the triple digits, the thin air of Aguascalientes helped the athletes to produce fast times, with no less than half a dozen athletes setting world records.

In her first track-cycling world championships, Whitmore (Mount Aukum, Calif.) broke the world record to win gold. Whitmore’s time of 42.955 seconds broke the previous record by more than 18-hundredths of a second. Whitmore also won two world titles on the roads last fall, before trying her hand at track cycling for the first time only four months ago.

“It feels great anytime you can walk away with the win,” Whitmore said. “The thing for me today was that I was just racing scared. I had no idea what to expect, this was only my third race, so it was just about going out hard and telling myself to keep going faster.”

Eight-time Paralympic medalist Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colo.) won silver in the women’s C2 500m time trial in 44.438. Jones made a quick transition to track cycling after winning bronze at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in downhill skiing only a month ago.

“The goal for worlds was the 500, and to get silver in it was really unexpected,” Jones said. “I also had an amazing race with near-death experiences, at least it seemed that way. I clipped out twice and then I was looking down and my wheel was sideways. I was able to pull it together and finish strong, and I’m really stoked to see some good fast girls up there.”

Jennifer Schuble (Birmingham, Ala.) won silver in a very-tight race for the women’s C5 500-meter time trial. Schuble finished as the runner-up in 37.039, with three women coming in lhttp://www.uci.ch/ess than a second behind her. Team USA’s Greta Neimanas (Asheville, N.C.) finished sixth. Schuble now owns seven medals from the track cycling world championships.

“It is awesome to be on the podium,” Schuble said. “I beat Sarah Storey, the reigning gold-medalist in the 500, and Jufang Zhou broke the world record. I rode the fastest I’ve ever gone, and I can’t be happier. It is awesome to win a silver medal at the world championships.”

In the men's visually impaired 4-kilometer pursuit, Clark Rachfal (Annapolis, Md.) and pilot Dave Swanson (Tucson, Ariz.) advanced out of the morning’s qualifying race to secure a spot in the bronze medal final. Team USA had a tight race with Ireland for the bronze medal, with Rachfal grabbing his spot on the podium by less than four-tenths of a second in 4:17.373.

In the qualifying rounds of the pursuit, Karissa Whitsell and her pilot Jennifer Triplett, both of Colorado Springs, Colo., finished sixth in the women’s 3-kilometer race, while Lance Footer (Greenville, S.C.) and pilot Shawn Olin (Chula Vista, Calif.) finished ninth in the men’s 4-kilometer race.

Competition resumes tomorrow with the men’s pursuit and the visually-impaired time trial and runs through Sunday, April 13. For complete results and more information, visit UCI.ch.