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Para-cycling

Overview

Development Program

The National Para-cycling Program incorporates both the Para-cycling High Performance Program (HPP) and the Para-cycling Development Program (PDP), creating a pathway for riders, coaches and staff to progress from entry-level through to elite performance.

The partnership between the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) and CA commenced on 1 April 2003 and provides the opportunity for elite level riders to benefit from the expertise and support of the CA high performance program.

The CA Para-cycling High Performance Program aims to provide the best possible training and competition opportunities for identified athletes to deliver medal winning performances at the Paralympic Games and World Championships.

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Para-cycling Membership and Classification

For some Para-cycling is a fast and competitive sport whilst for others it's more for fun and fitness. Para-cyclists compete on either a track (velodrome) or on the road. Track racing features various of events including sprints and pursuits.

Depending on the type and level of disability, riders can compete using standard racing bikes (sometimes with slight modifications) tandems, tricycles and handcycles.

Eligibility

To race in cycling events you have to be a member of Cycling Australia through one of its affiliated Clubs in ACT.  For further information about obtaining a licence please contact Cycling ACT (details are below). 

Once you are licensed, you need to be classified.  Assessments are done by a qualified cycling classifier who identifies which division and classification you will race in.  Currently cycling has competition divisions for the following disabilities: 

·         Cerebral Palsy

·         Locomotive Disabilities

·         Lower limb injuries

·         Vision Impairment

As the sport continues to grow and develop, cycling endeavours to expand on the divisions that are catered for; you may also race in a combined division until sufficient numbers exist that you can race in your own division.  For further information on classifications and how to get yours done, please contact Cycling ACT. 

Racing for vision impaired, cerebral palsy and people with a locomotive disability are also available in ACT with racing on the road and track (velodrome) available.  State Track Championships run annually and National Road and Track Championships for Para-cycling are hosted annually by Cycling Australia.

The ultimate goal for many para-cyclists is to compete in the Paralympics.  You can find more information out about selections for Australian Paralympic Teams and the High Performance Cycling Program at Cycling Australia's website.

Classifications

Classification is simply a structure for competition.  Not unlike wrestling, boxing and weightlifting where athletes are categorised by weight classes, athletes with disabilities are grouped in classes defined by the degree of function presented by the disability.  At the beginning of 2010 a new classification system was introduced by the UCI. 

All athletes are required to undergo a classification process prior to competing in Para-cycling events.

Please follow the links below provided by the Australian Paralympic Committee to find out more information on Para-cycling classification.

·            Understanding classification

·            Levels of classification

·            Information for athletes

Classification procedures:

·            New athletes without a provisional class should contact Cycling ACT or Cycling Australia Development Officer

·            The Development Officer will collect data regarding athletes disability/contact details and request provisional classification

·            Athletes will be contacted if any further information is required

·            Athletes are advised on their class if possible via email

·           All athletes competing at national events are expected to attend classification prior to the event to ensure eligibility

Please contact Cycling ACT to find out more information on becoming classified as a Para-cycling competitor.

For an accurate and detailed description of the system and each group and level with that group please refer to the UCI website and particularly Chapter V of Para-cycling Regulations.

Special Notes

·            Please note that intellectual or learning capacity is not part of the classification process.  Individuals will only be classified on their physical disability as noted above.

·            For those who have hearing impairment please contact Deaf Sports Australia.

Classification Divisions and Associated Equipment

·           Visually Impaired and Blind (B), competing on two wheeled tandems with a sighted pilot

·            Handcycling Classes H1, H2, H3 and H4, competing on three wheeled hand propelled cycles

·            Tricycle Classes T1 and T2, competing on three wheeled leg propelled cycles

·            Classifications C1, C2, C3 , C4 and C5, competing on two wheeled cycles

For more specific information on rules and regulations pertaining to Para-cycling please refer to the UCI’s website here.

Racing in events 

Once you have become a member of Cycling Australia you will find there are numerous opportunities for you to compete in club events around the country.  Being a member of a club doesn’t necessarily mean that you can only compete with that club.  Most clubs allow and encourage visitors however if you are thinking of competing away from your home base you are advised to enquire with the club you’re going to visit well in advance.

The place to start your racing career is at club level and we cannot overstate how important it is for you to do this.  Some clubs run weekly racing but not all will have courses or a competition calendar that will suit your classification.  Some clubs for instance have a strong junior bias, while others may focus on mountain biking, road or track.  So before you join get in touch with the club and ask about what racing opportunities will be available to you.

Tips on how to start training

Here are some basic tips to help you towards enjoyable cycling. 

  • Work on your fitness base. Begin with short rides a couple of times per week and gradually increase the distance and frequency over a number of months.  Most of your training at this time should be comfortable and you should be able to carry out a conversation without running out of breath.
  • With fitness base behind you, start to pick up the intensity. Include some rides that you can talk, but only in short sentences.
  • A lot of cycle races finish in a sprint, so it’s important to dedicate a portion of your training to speed and power.  Once warmed up, try doing 10-30sec maximum efforts with a break of 2-3 mins.  Start with 3-4efforts each session and build it up to around 10 over a number of weeks.  This will help your speed. 
  • As a beginner, the best form of training is racing at club level.  It is here you can develop racing skills and tactics which can make the most of your fitness.
  • Recovery is an important part of training it can be in a number of forms including sleep, good nutrition, stretching and massage.
  • If you are looking for good places to train or a group to ride with contact your local bike shop or your Club for any bunches that leave around your area.

What about a coach?

Accredited cycling coaches reside throughout the ACT.  Any cyclist seeking coaching advice should contact their club to find out if there is an appointed club coach available to help.  If your club does not have a coach, contact Cycling ACT and ask him/her to provide you with names of accredited coaches in the ACT.

Parents and other interested individuals who want to extend their knowledge on the training principles associated with cycling can participate in Level One Coaching courses.  For further information refer to the Coaching section of the Cycling Australia website.

Cycling equipment

Cycling is a sport where new equipment innovations, which supposedly give you the edge, take place at a rapid rate.  It’s important to remember that whilst new shiny and often expensive equipment is nice to own, the reality is you can’t buy performance.

Ultimately, it is your fitness, strength and skills that give you good performances.  Be sensible with your equipment purchase.  Look for equipment that won’t let you down when it matters most.  Keep a look out for fellow club members selling second hand equipment.

There are rules regarding bike equipment. Cycling clubs will be able to assist in this area. 

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