Eleven gold medals were enough for Team USA to secure the top spot, ahead of Germany, Australia and South Africa, at the conclusion of the 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup in Pietermaritzburg.
The weekend brought perfect racing conditions for the teams of cyclists with disabilities, representing 20 countries, as they competed for top honours.
For more news see: 2015 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup
The Americans left the event with a total of 18 medals, including six silver and one bronze. The German team finished second with eight gold, three silver and six bronze, while third-placed Australia went home with six gold, five silver and two bronze.
Team SA ended in fourth spot with ten medals, comprising six gold, one silver and three bronze medals.
Four of the hosts’ gold medals came during the road races on Saturday. H1 class titleholder and current ranking leader Nicolas Pieter du Preez finished the 18.5km race in 54:15, adding one more win to his perfect record for the season.
Multiple paralympian Ernst van Dyk came third in the H5 time-trial, but managed a gold medal in the road race in 1:43:11.
Goldy Fuchs won a nail-biting 24.6km T2 race in 45:43, beating German Hans-Peter Durst by a split second. Justine Asher brought in the fourth gold for the day in the H2 class race.
The weekend’s action started on Friday with the time-trial events where Team USA started their road to victory, initially neck and neck with Germany as both countries raked in five gold medals.
Saturday saw the Americans take the lead with five more gold medals. They also won the team relay to wrap up a brilliant weekend of racing and cement their top spot on the log.
Three riders from each team took to the shortened 1.4km lap to complete nine laps (three laps each). Belgium finished second with Germany in third.
“The team relay is one race that we’re always strong at,” said American Oscar Sanchez (H5).
“But it’s all about execution as a team – no one wins it individually. Looking at the results from everybody’s relay efforts, we were stacked to win, so at this point it was only our race to lose.
“I just kept talking to my team because we’ve lost the race to ourselves several times this season. We pulled it off and at the end of the day it’s a win, and we are World Cup leaders and I’m happy.”
The Pietermaritzburg event was the first Para-cycling World Cup to be broadcast on live streaming, bringing the real-time action to thousands of viewers daily.
Commenting on the event, Cycling SA president William Newman said the event had been wonderful.
“The riders have shown that they are capable, they don’t look at themselves as being disabled at all, and they are here to compete at their best level and to bring honour to their countries.
“There have been phenomenal performances across all the classes. Well done to everyone.”