U.S. Para-cyclists cap off successful road world cup season in South Africa

By Brianna Tammaro | Sept. 14, 2015, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Alicia Dana competes at the 2014 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Greenville, South Carolina. Dana won the 2015 UCI overall road world cup title for the women's H3 classification after securing the top ranking with time trial and road race wins in South Africa's road world cup finals.

PIETERMARITZBURG, South Africa—Team USA triumphantly closed out the International Cycling Union Para-cycling road world cup circuit by topping the medal table, capturing 18 medals, including 11 gold, at this weekend world cup finals in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The U.S. added more hardware to their haul by collecting five overall world cup titles to culminate the road cycling season.

Shawn Morelli (Leavenworth, Kansas) came off of a road race win at July’s UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships to win the overall title by dominating the women’s C4 classification. Her teammate and fellow world champion in the WC3 class, Jamie Whitmore (Mount Aukum, California) also claimed the overall title. Both women are aiming to compete in their first Paralympic Games next September in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Alicia Dana (Putney, Vermont) continued the string of female dominance by finishing the season with overall world cup titles in the women’s C2 and H3 classes, respectively. Secured by a win in Pietermaritzburg, the U.S. handcycle relay team also took home an overall title to round out a successful stretch by Team USA.

The U.S. showcased their strongest performance on the first day of racing, taking home nine medals in the time trial, five of which were gold. Jones, Whitmore, Morelli and Dana picked up wins in the WC2, C3, C4 and H3 categories respectively. The women repeated as champions in Saturday and Sunday’s road races, putting their stamp on the competition en route to overall world cup titles.

Will Groulx (Portland, Oregon) also crossed the finish line first for the 16-kilometer course in the men’s H2 class. Adding silver medals to Team USA’s tally was the tandem pair of stoker Aaron Scheidies (Seattle, Washington) and pilot Benjamin Collins (Chicago, Illinois), Oz Sanchez (San Diego, California) in the men’s H5 race, Ryan Boyle (Colorado Springs, Colorado) in the men’s T2 race and Jill Walsh (Syracuse, New York) in the women’s T2 race.

Men’s road races featured another win by Groulx as well as a second-place performance by Matt Bigos (Cardiff by the Sea, California) in the men’s C1 race and third-place finish by Boyle. In the women’s road races, Walsh followed her time trial win with a victory in the road race, joining Jones, Whitmore, Morelli and Dana on the podium.

In the final event of the weekend, the U.S. handcycle relay edged the teams from Belgium and Germany to polish off the season with a world cup win and the overall title.

With 156 athletes from 25 countries, the event marked the first time a world cup race has been staged in South Africa. Though this concluded the world cup circuit, this won’t be the last time Team USA visits Pietermaritzburg as the city will host the 2017 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships. For complete results, visit the UCI event website.