Victoria’s Andre Ascui, Nathan Broeren and Georgia Powning have claimed the inaugural National Cycling Champion titles for athletes with an intellectual impairment at the Federation University Road National Championships in Ballarat.
Introduced by Cycling Australia to the 2020 National Championship program following the successful INAS Global Games cycling program cyclists were offered time trial and road race events for the first time.
Brunswick Cycling Club’s Nathan Broeren was the first to claim the a national title in the men’s individual time trial on day 1. Broeren completed the two lap course around the Federation University campus in 30 minutes and 20 seconds, more than 2 minutes ahead of Harry Mezger (Preston CC) in second place and Andre Ascui (Preston CC) a further 40 seconds back in third place.
Having worn the green and gold on three occasions at the 2009, 2011 and 2019 INAS Global Games, Broeren was pleased to earn the Green and Gold stripes which he will proudly wear for the next 12 months as National Champion.
“I have represented Australia on three occasions and it feels great to be able to win a National title.” said Broeren
Not far behind Broeren was Preston Cycling Club’s Georgia Powning. Powning completed her two lap course in 36 minutes and 58 seconds almost 2 minutes ahead of Chloe Turner (Preston CC) with Montana Whiteley (Preston CC) a further 20 seconds back in third position. All three cyclists recently represented Australia at the INAS Global Games in cycling with Powning also competing in Athletics where she collected a Bronze medal in the women’s 3000m
“It feels good and I am very proud to be a National Champion” said Powning “It was a really hilly and tough course but I used my gears and got out of the saddle” she said.
Day 4 of the Championships saw the cyclists compete in the Road race events. The women’s 30km event saw Powning, Turner and Whiteley finish in the same order as the time trial, while in the men’s event Andre Ascui (Preston CC), the Bronze medallist from the men’s time trial took out his first National Championship completing the 40km course in 1 hour 20 minutes and 41 seconds well clear of his closest rivals. The battle for the minor medals was a closer tussle between Carlo Manolitsas (Preston CC) and Montgomery Cooper (St Kilda CC). It was Manolitsas who maintained his pace well over the first three laps and then made the decisive break on the tiring Cooper as they entered the final hill climb. After a fast early pace Cooper was unable to respond to Manolitsas, holding on for the Bronze medal.
After losing his way on the time trial course earlier in the week a silver medal in the road race was a wonderful personal achievement and a great way to finish the Championships for Manolitsas.
The hilly course challenged most of the cyclists who are still learning their craft and in particular gear changing. “We have worked hard at training and were expecting the big hill climb so our riders were well prepared, and it showed in their performances” said Liz Gosper from Inclusive Sport Training.
Cyclists and families were full of praise for Cycling Australia not only for the inclusion of the events but also for making the athletes and the supporters feel welcome and part of the cycling family.
“Cycling Australia was pleased to include the athletes with intellectual disability into the Federation University Road National Championship. Cycling is a sport for all Australians and we look forward to growing the number of opportunities for riders of all abilities”. Said Kipp Kaufmann, General Manager – Sport at Cycling Australia.
“To have a sport identify the need to include athletes within their existing program is amazing and testimony to Cycling Australia’s commitment to inclusion”. Said Robyn Smith Chief Executive Officer Sport Inclusion Australia. “Furthermore to hear many positive comments from the cycling community welcoming the energy and enthusiasm that the cyclists and their supporters bring to the event is also very rewarding.” Smith said.
Cyclists will now focus on the upcoming VIRTUS Cycling World Championships to be held in Portugal in July.
For more information on the cycling opportunities for athletes with intellectual impairment including the upcoming VIRTUS Cycling World Championships contact Sport Inclusion Australia at 03 5762 7494 or email firstname.lastname@example.org