Team USA Kicks off 2023 UCI Para-cycling Track Championships with Four Top Ten Finishes
by Annemarie Blanco
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – Team USA Para-cyclists began their 2023 world championship journey in front of an electric crowd on the first day of finals at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. Six racers took to the track across the day grabbing four top ten finishes.
In their first world championship appearance as a tandem team, Hannah Chadwick (El Cerrito, California) and pilot Skyler Espinoza (Freeport, Maine) grabbed a top five finish in the women’s B 1km time trial final after a speedy ride in the morning’s session securing the fifth out of sixth spot in the qualification round.
“We’re feeling great, it’s our first world champs as a team and we’re really stoked to make the final,” said Espinoza. “We gave it our everything - two big efforts - so we’re really proud. I’m inspired to see so many tandems, it’s awesome to meet girls from around the world and we’re excited to race them even more.”
“I’m so very proud of our performance today – getting fifth place for Skyler and I was truly amazing and something I didn’t think was possible given that we only started training in April and we’ve only trained together a few times leading up to this point,” said Chadwick. “I feel incredibly lucky and am truly thankful to have such a supportive and kind pilot.”
Competing in her second Para-cycling track world championships, Katie Walker (Wilmington, Ohio) secured sixth place in the women’s C5 500m time trial final. Walker is using the experience as a learning for the rest of the week’s events.
“I could have done better,” said Walker. “That’s my initial thought but there’s always next race. My tactics were to really work on getting the start but unfortunately that didn’t happen. The start is everything in my event, so I’ll be working on that and repetition coming back.”
In a stacked men’s C5 scratch field, Bryan Larsen (Windsor, California) and two-time Paralympian Chris Murphy (Rancho Cucamonga, California) held their own against the world’s best 17. Murphy ended with the 15th place standing while Larsen grabbed an impressive top seven finish building from his 2022 world’s debut.
“Being in front of this many people with Para and able-bodied combined, it’s an amazing showcase,” said Larsen. “It’s louder, hotter, more exciting than anything I could have ever imagined for myself. It’s indescribable [to have the crowds cheering] but not something I always do well with but it’s exciting. It’s pretty easy to get into tunnel vision when you need to but it’s a whole other environment.”
In the morning’s races, 2022 track world championship medalist John Terrell (Converse, Texas) picked up a ninth-place finish in the men’s C4 200m time trial on his quest for the omnium podium.
Para track cycling competition continues in Glasgow through Aug. 8 with a quick transition to the road competition in Dumfries and Galloway from Aug. 9-13. For live updates and results, follow U.S. Paralympics Cycling on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
For media requests and photo inquiries, please contact Annemarie Blanco at Annemarie.Blanco@usopc.org.