Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Para-cyclists head to Locky and Rushworth

The district will host the Australian Road National Para-cycling Championships this weekend.

LUKE MCMANUS May 10, 2014 3:04am

Paracyclist Michael Taylor. Photo: submitted

World-class athletes will hit the region’s roads this weekend as part of the Australian Road National Para-cycling Championships.

Vision and physically impaired cyclists will compete in different classifications across two days of competition, with the time trial and road race attracting many of the nation’s para-cycling elite.London Paralympic gold medallist and reigning world champion Carol Cooke will defend the time trial and road race crowns on the tricycle and join fellow Paralympians David Nicholas (cycling), Kieran Modra (tandem) and Nigel Barley (handcycle).

Echuca-Moama Cycling Club’s own Michael Taylor will also feature, back to defend his title in the highly competitive MH3 (handcycle, higher paraplegic) time trial and road race events.Taylor has been unstoppable across the first three rounds, form which should bode well for ‘Squizzy’ despite the weekend’s weather forecast.‘‘I’m excited about the racing but the conditions should make things interesting,’’ Taylor said.

‘‘It’s a bit later in the year than normal so it’s a bit cooler, the wind should make it a little challenging.

‘‘Racing in front of the home crowd is always brilliant, I’m looking forward to that.

‘‘It’s a great feeling and the club always put on a great event... there’s always a great atmosphere.

‘‘I just have to make sure I do well and, excuse the pun, put my best foot forward.’’

Taylor said event organisers from EMCC were expecting more than 100 cyclists, up from about 90 at last year’s championships which were also staged within the region.

Tomorrow’s event will mark the second consecutive year that EMCC has staged and run the national championships.

‘‘It’s grown over four or five years,’’ Taylor said.

‘‘Previously we’ve hosted rounds but because of the success, a proposal was put forward for Echuca to host the nationals, which has been fantastic.’’

Starting at 8.30am, today’s time trial will take place in Lockington around a 15km circuit, encompassing Lockington, Prairie-Rochester, Dullard and Pannoo roads.

Tomorrow, the championship heads to Rushworth for a 21km road race, stretching from the town centre, along Tatura-Rushworth, McEwan and Zegelin roads and back towards town on Girgarre-Rushworth Rd.

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