U.S. cyclists shine at opening UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup

By U.S. Paralympics | June 09, 2013, 6 p.m. (ET)

Team USA opened the Union Cycliste Internationale (International Cycling Union) Para-cycling Road World Cup season June 6-9 in Merano and Marlengo, Italy, winning eight medals. Four athletes combined for six gold medals.

The opening day of competition saw Aaron Keith win Team USA's first gold medal of the season, topping Ireland's Colin Lynch and Tobias Graf in the men's C2 time trial. It was a dominant performance for Keith, who finished in 18:43.81, about 34 seconds before Lynch.

Jamie Whitmore Cardenas topped Germany's Nora Hansel in the women's C3 time trial, 20:42.5 to 22:58.89.

Monica Bascio, a two-time silver medalist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, won the women's H3 time trial with a time of 25:14.49. Switzerland's Sandra Graf (25:45.93) and Russia's Svetlana Moshkovich (25:15.92) were second and third.

Allison Jones, who won an individual time trial gold at the 2012 Paralympic Games, placed third in the women's C2 time trial. With a time of 22:29.95, Jones finished behind Tereza Diepoldova of the Czech Republic, who had a time of 22:00.76, and Raquel Acinas Poncelas of Spain, who finished in 22:24.7.

Three-time London 2012 medalist Joe Berenyi won a silver medal in the men's C3 time trial race behind Germany's Steffen Warias. Berenyi finished in 18:45.4, about nine seconds off the gold medal pace.

On Saturday, Bascio won her second gold medal of the competition, finishing first in the women's H3 road race with a time of 1:21.37. Graf (1:23.15) and Moshkovich (1:27.08) claimed silver and bronze.

Cardenas also won a second gold medal Sunday, topping Hansel 1:18.01 to 1:18.58 in the women's C3 road race. Later that day, Jones rebounded from her third place performance on Friday to win a gold medal in the women's C2 road race. She finished in 1:18.01, just ahead of Poncelas.

“I’m only six weeks into my cycling season because I’ve come off my ski season,” Jones said. “I need to remind myself that I can go hard. I got beaten in the time trial on Friday but today I came back and told myself ‘I can do it!’”

More than 250 athletes from 32 countries were in the South Tyrol for the Friday time trials followed by two days of road racing in this first major competition since the Paralympic Games.

In London, Team USA won 17 medals in cycling, marking the most successful Games appearance ever for the United States in the sport. Ten athletes combined for 12 medals in road cycling, tying Germany for the most medals in that discipline, and the team added five medals in track cycling.