U.S. wins overall medal count at Para-cycling Track World Championships

By Brianna Tammaro | March 29, 2015, 5:40 p.m. (ET)
Greta Neimanas crosses the finish line to win the women's C4-5 scratch race at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, Mar. 29, 2015.

APELDOORN, Netherlands — Greta Neimanas earned her first world title of the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in the women’s C4-5 scratch race to highlight Team USA’s final day in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. Team USA closed out track worlds with a total of twelve medals—four gold, four silver and four bronze—to top the overall medal count.

Neimanas (Chicago, Illinois) was joined on the podium Sunday by silver medalists Joe Berenyi (Oswego, Illinois) and Jamie Whitmore (Mt. Aukum, California) in the men’s and women’s C1-3 events.

Berenyi led the U.S. by opening the competition with two world titles in the men’s C3 1-kilometer time trial and 3km pursuit on the first two days of competition. The 1km time trial win was especially significant for Berenyi after coming .039 of a second from the podium at last year’s world championships. Whitmore also earned a title on the first day for the women’s C3 500-meter time trial while Neimanas closed the competition with her scratch gold. Neimanas redeemed the scratch race title she won three years earlier at the 2012 track cycling world championships in Los Angeles.

“It was the longest ten laps of my life but was so worth it to take the lap [after attacking] and then take the win,” Neimanas said. “[Teammate] Samantha Heinrich worked her butt off in the field marking attacks and shutting things down to make it easier for me. Winning really wouldn't have been possible without all of her hard work and help. It was truly an act of teamwork and sportsmanship.”

The four-day international event brought 153 cyclists from 30 countries to compete for individual and team world titles as countries prepare for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. It was a tight race amongst nations for the final top rankings with each place separated by only one medal. Australia followed closely behind the U.S. to take second with a total of 11 medals and China finished third with 10. 

Other notable performances on the final day of track worlds include fourth place finishes by Jennifer Schuble (Birmingham, Alabama), Berenyi and Chris Murphy (Alta Loma, California) in the mixed team sprint and Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colorado) in the women’s C1-3 scratch race. The U.S. battled Russia for the bronze medal in the mixed team sprint, coming down to the closest of margins. Russia edged out the U.S. by one tenth of a second to claim the third place position with a time of 51.659 seconds.

“I'm really proud of the team today, particularly how they bounced back from the team sprint and won three medals in the scratch races,” Ian Lawless, high performance director of U.S. Paralympics Cycling said. “Greta showed a lot of grit in the scratch race and embodied the spirit of our team during the world championships.”

Team USA improved considerably on last year’s showing at the 2014 world championship in Aguascalientes, Mexico where they earned a total of nine medals—two gold, three silver and four bronze. They took home two additional gold medals and one silver to defend their number one ranking in the world for track cycling.

The U.S. Paralympics Cycling National Team will head straight into the road season on May 9 with a time trial event at the USA Cycling Collegiate Nationals in Asheville, North Carolina. This will serve as a key selection event for Team USA as they prepare for the 2015 USA Cycling Para-cycling Road National Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee in late May. 

Full results from the four days of competition at the 2015 UCI Para-cycling World Championships can be found at Paracycling2015.com.