Team USA wins nine medals at Para-cycling road world cup in Italy

By Brianna Tammaro | June 05, 2015, 3:30 p.m. (ET)

Shawn Morelli, pictured above, was one of eight athletes to secure a medal at the international road world cup. 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – U.S. Para-cyclists opened the international road world cup season in Maniago, Italy today with nine athletes on the podium, including first place finishes by Jamie Whitmore (Mount Aukum, California), Shawn Morelli (Leavenworth, Kansas) and Brian Sheridan (Clarkston, Michigan).

The U.S. contingent of 26 athletes put forth a commanding performance on the first day of competition in the 12.8-kilometer time trial race. Whitmore, the defending road world champion in time trial, led the pack in the women’s C3 class with a time of 21:17.41, more than 30 seconds ahead of the second place finisher from Germany. A cancer survivor, Whitmore made the transition from mountain biking to winning her first road national title in 2012. She’s considered one of the top U.S. athletes going into the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland later this summer.

In the women’s C4 class, Morelli was in good form to maintain her lead of over a minute, securing the world cup win. Morelli, the 2014 overall road world cup champion, should look to defend her road race world title in July.

Sheridan came off a sweep of the time trial and road race events in the men’s H2 class last month at the USA Cycling Para-cycling Road National Championships to win his class at the world cup event in Italy. A member of the 2015 U.S. Para-cycling National Development Team, Sheridan took hold of the win over Israel’s Yaakov Kobi Lion and third place Luca Mazzone of Italy by 50 seconds.

Paralympians Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Greta Neimanas (Chicago, Illinois) added two silver medals to Team USA’s medal count in the women’s C2 and C5 races, respectively. Jones, the most decorated current member of the U.S. Paralympics Cycling National Team, was nearly seven seconds off of first place Alyda Norbruis of the Netherlands.

On the other side of the podium were bronze medalists Ryan Boyle (MT2; Marietta, Georgia), Alicia Dana (WH3; Putney, Vermont), Oksana Masters (WH5; Louisville, Kentucky) and Oscar “Oz” Sanchez (MH5; Los Angeles, California). Dana, Masters and Sanchez all competed at the London 2012 Paralympic Games with Masters making a transition from winning a bronze medal in rowing to taking on cycling in 2014.

Other notable Team USA performances include Joe Berenyi  (MC3; Oswego, Illinois) in fourth, Todd Key (MC1; Scottsdale, Arizona) in fifth, Tom Davis (MH4; Freemont, Indiana) in sixth and Shawn Chesire (WB; Camillus, New York) and pilot Mackenzie Woodring (Belmont, Michigan) also in sixth.

The first of four world cups this summer featured 350 athletes from 36 different countries for the three-day event.

Competition continues Saturday with the men’s and women’s road races and concludes with additional road races and the mixed team relay on Sunday. Full results from today’s time trial race can be found on the event website.