Team USA cyclists open world cup season in Italy

By Katie Branham | May 08, 2014, 5:49 p.m. (ET)
 After finishing 2013 as the No. 1 road cycling team in the world, Team USA is ready to defend their title as the world cup season opens in the seaside town of Castiglione Della Pescaia, Italy.

A contingent of 22 athletes is ready to represent Team USA at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Castiglione Della Pescaia, Italy. More than 300 athletes from 36 countries will compete in the first world cup of the 2014 season this Friday, May 9, through Sunday, May 11. 

While Team USA is less than a month removed from winning nine medals at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, the world cup starts the season for those on handcycles and trikes.

“We are very excited about our hand cyclists and trike riders,” said Ian Lawless, high performance director for U.S. Paralympics cycling. “This is their first international racing opportunity in 2014, and are excited about the possibilities for podium finishes. “Will Groulx (MH2; Portland, Oregon) and Will Lachenauer (MH3; Reno, Nevada) are both looking very solid for Friday's time trial, and so is Ryan Boyle (MT2; Marietta, Georgia).”

Team USA finished the 2013 season as the top ranked team in the world, but the second-ranked nation Italy is sure to put on a great contest as they have a team of 50 athletes racing on home soil. 

Jamie Whitmore will look to extend her undefeated streak in the women's C3 class

“The goal for the team at the world cup is to begin earning points towards Rio 2016 start rights, while providing international competition opportunities for proven medal winners as well as up-and-coming athletes,” Lawless said. “We intend to finish the season as the number one road team in the world, and the first step to that is going to be getting as many athletes as possible on the podium this weekend.” 

Jamie Whitmore (WC3; Mount Aukum, California) is one of the top U.S. riders who will be looking to extend her undefeated streak in Para-cycling. Whitmore, a cancer survivor who previously won able-bodied world championships in XTERRA off-road triathlons, has won four Para-cycling world championship titles in the past year.

Other top athletes include 2013 road world champion Aaron Keith (MC2; Woodinville, Washington), Joe Berenyi (MC3; Oswego, Illinois) who won silver at the recent track world championships, and the tandem team of Clark Rachfal (Annapolis, Maryland) and Dave Swanson (Tucson, Arizona) who won bronze on the track as well.

Athletes scheduled to compete
Shawn Cheshire (Camillus, N.Y.) / Mackenzie Woodring (Belmont, Mich.) WTandem
Alicia Dana (Putney, Vt.) WH2
Samantha Heinrich (Spring Hill, Fla.) WC5
Shawn Morelli (Leavenworth, Kan.) WC4
Jamie Whitmore (Mount Aukum, Calif.) WC3
Karissa Whitsell (Colorado Springs, Colo.) / Jennifer Triplett (Colorado Springs, Colo.) WTandem
Joe Berenyi (Oswego, Ill) MC3
Matt Bigos (Cardiff By The Sea, Calif.) MC1
Ryan Boyle (Marietta, Ga.) MT2
Jonathan Copsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.) MC4
Will Groulx (Portland, Ore.) MH1
Aaron Keith (Woodinville, Wash.) MC2
Todd Key (Scottsdale, Ariz.) MC1
William Lachenauer (Reno, Nevada) MH2
Jeffrey Martin (Oceanside, Calif.) MC4
Steven Peace (SanDiego, Calif.) MT2
Clark Rachfal (Annapolis, Md.) / Dave Swanson (Tucson, Ariz.) MTandem
David Randall (Ontario, Ohio) MH2
Matthew Updike (Denver, Colo.) MH2