Power couple Clara Brown and Noah Middlestaedt grab gold on opening day of Huntsville Para-cycling Open
by Annemarie Blanco
Noah Middlestaedt competes in the 15km time trial on the opening day of competition at the Huntsville Para-cycling Open.
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Paralympic hopefuls Clara Brown (Falmouth, Maine) and Noah Middlestaedt (St. Cloud, Minnesota) shined as ones to watch in the leadup to this summer’s Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 each grabbing impressive wins on the opening day of U.S. Paralympics Cycling Open presented by Toyota. Para-cyclists took to the course for a day of time trial events and their return to competition since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Brown, a 2020 double world champion in track cycling, clocked an impressive time of 21:29 in the women’s C3 15km time trial, coming in more than a minute faster than the women’s C5 gold medalist. Middlestaedt took the top spot in the men’s C3 15km time trial (41:14) beating out four-time Paralympic medalist Joe Berenyi (Oswego, Illinois).
Paralympian Tom Davis (Fremont, Indiana) captured the top spot in the men’s ranking list with a time of 20:43 in the men’s H4 15km time trial. Ryan Pinney (Cave Creek, Arizona) sped to victory in the men’s H3 (22:02) etching out silver medalist Brandon Lyons by 30 seconds, while Paralympic medalists Alicia Dana (Putney, Vermont) and Sam Bosco (Upland, California) added hardware to their collections in the women’s C4 and H3 categories respectively. There was no stopping six-time Paralympic medalist Oz Sanchez (San Diego, California) who secured gold in the men’s H5 15km time trial (22:25) as he looks to make his fourth Paralympic team this summer.
Fresh off a Para Nordic stint in Slovenia, winter Paralympic champions Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kentucky) and Dan Cnossen (Topeka, Kansas) proved their masterful ability to switch from snow to sun with strong time trial performances, each securing podium spots. Masters took gold in the women’s H5 (24:34) and Cnossen grabbed bronze in the men’s H5, his first Para-cycling competition in more than 5 years.
Results from the event will be used for selection to the 2021 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Ostend, Belgium next month which acts as a Paralympic qualification opportunity for Tokyo 2020. Competition resumes on Sunday, April 18 at 8:30 a.m. CT from Huntsville, Alabama with road race events.
I had a really successful track worlds in 2020 and honestly that was a huge accomplishment for me. To translate that to the road, I spent a year just working really hard and aiming for this time trial and it paid off. As far as Belgium and Paralympic trials, I hope that I can perform the same way as I did here.
Noah Middlestaedt (on being able to compete with Clara)
It was really exciting being able to be here with Clara and both of us coming away with a win. I think we feed off of each other and it’s really exciting to be able to train and both be successful. Even when one of us doesn’t have the best day, which didn’t happen today, we always have something to be happy about. It’s really nice being able to do this together. We train together every day, we know each other’s routines, rituals and know what we’re both capable of.
Oksana Masters (on competing with her Nordic teammates)
Lera [Doederlein], Dan [Cnossen] and I are all coming in from the Nordic season that just ended a month ago. We had a month to transition, and it feels good. It’s a little family outside of a family in the Nordic community. It’s really fun to be here with my team on the skis and also on the road chasing [Tokyo].
Today was a really good day. I had a lot of anxiety and nerves coming into today since we haven’t raced in a long time. 2020 you can look at it like everyone went through something, but I had to take the positives out of it and get ready for 2021. My family has been a huge support system and I’m excited to wear this medal. This is step one on the road to Tokyo and I’m excited for the possibilities.
It was a beautiful course, really technical with no areas to rest. I’m pretty sure I had a heart threshold [personal record] but overall, as much as it hurt, it felt nice to be out there especially on domestic soil getting our grind on. My fitness isn’t exactly where’d I’d like to be so this was a really good test event to see where I’m at to benchmark what I need to do.
FULL RESULTS AND LIVE STREAM
Please contact Annemarie Blanco at Annemarie.Blanco@usopc.org for photo and interview requests.