Elite level cyclists from nine countries have arrived in Assen, the Netherlands, for the 2017 International Federation for Intellectual Impairment Sport (INAS) World Cycling Championships which get underway on Tuesday (1 August).
The competition, featuring team and individual time trials and road races for men and women, is being run alongside the European Junior Cycling Tour.
The field is highlighted by the return of respective French men’s and women’s world champions Jeremy Pereira and Aurelie Minodier.
In 2016 Pereira claimed the men’s road race and individual time trial titles in Racice, Czech Republic.
The 23-year-old wants to “win the world champion title once again” in Assen but is also aware of the threat from the hosts.
“I think the Dutch could beat me, especially as we are racing in their home country, it is definitely an advantage for them,” Pereira said. “I am planning to follow thoroughly the instructions of my coach.”
One of Pereira’s toughest competitors will be Joannathan Duinkerke. The Dutch athlete was the bronze medallist from the 2016 road race and one-half of the title-winning duo from the team time trial with teammate Davy Mertens.
Mertens will challenge for gold in the individual time trial as the third place finisher from the last edition.
Minodier meanwhile will try to defend her road race and individual time trial golds from Racice.
The 24-year-old Frenchwoman aims to “keep [her] titles and pursue [her] efforts to the end” but will be looking over her shoulder at the Polish and Russian racers.
Russia’s Liubov Tarasova will be looking to improve on her silver medal from the individual time trial and bronze in the road race from 2016.
Action gets underway with the men’s and women’s individual time trial on 1 August. The men’s and women’s team time trial follows on 3 August (subject to entries) with the men’s and women’s road race on 4 August.
Full entries, course maps and results are available at https://inasdrenthe.com/ and live updates posted to Facebook.com/INASsport and Twitter (@INASsport).
INAS represents more than 300,000 athletes with intellectual impairments around the world. We give elite athletes the chance to compete at an international and on the Paralympic stage. But we cannot continue our work towards the inclusion of the world’s biggest impairment group in society without your support.
We are a registered charity and your help can make a big difference.