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Double world titles for Malzbender and bronze for Hills

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Eltje Malzbender has shown tremendous heart and tenacity to be crowned World Champion in the Women’s T1 Road Race after crashing on the final lap at the UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships.

The Te Awamutu rider held a 48 second lead over the Canadian, before taking a spill which almost cost her the race. "I got it wrong, I didn’t lean inwards like you do on the trike and then fell off to the left side and they tell me within thirty seconds I was back on the bike, that was certainly an even bigger success than winning."

Malzbender returned to her bike and even managed to increase her lead again slightly in the dying stages of the 22.2km race to win in a time of 51.46, 12 seconds ahead of Shelley Gautier of Canada.

The crash cracked one of her teeth and required stitches, proving just how determined Eltje was to finish. "Eltje’s ride was just so gutsy, the course doesn’t suit trikes at all with the camber of the road and its technicality of the roads," said Paralympics New Zealand Para Cycling Performance Head Coach Stuart McDonald.

The victory caps off a successful week for Malzbender who won the World Title in the Time Trial earlier in the week. "My first goal was to win the time trial, the second goal was to win the road race, and the third was in the time trial, after factoring in times etc to post a time that would have won the T2 category, which I did."

New Plymouth’s Stephen Hills rounded out the Kiwi campaign in the Netherlands with a Bronze Medal in the Men’s T2 Road Race.

Hills finished just 13 seconds off the Gold Medal spot and 5 seconds behind Silver to complete the 4 lap, 29.6-kilometre ride in a time of 53.10.

"A phenomenal day for us on the final day of racing to come away with two podiums and one world title," said McDonald.

"It was a great effort from Stevo, he prefers a hillier course and todays was pan flat, there were a number of crashes out there too and luckily enough he managed to keep himself out of the carnage."

"I’m really proud of that ride, I know how much work he’s put in, building up over the past six months, which was awesome."

Rory Mead, who has only been riding a hand bike for a couple of years, cemented his position in the top 10 in the world in the H2 classification by finishing in 5th in a time of 37:44.92.

It’s New Zealand’s best ever performance at a World Championship finishing with three world titles, seventh on the Gold Medal table, 8th overall on the medal table just behind the USA and in front of Great Britain who are some of the powerhouses in terms of paracycling.

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