Cable Water Ski Park in Penrith
The Panther Cable
Water Ski Park in Penrith will attract
large crowds of interested spectators for the 5 km Road Race and Cycling.
Both events are to be held in the centre of the city.
Cycling will be held early Saturday morning to accommodate athletes
who also wish to compete in Athletics.
Story by TransWeb volunteer reporters
Maureen and Robert Fox
The women (adult, senior and veterans), and the men super veterans were
the first racers of the day. Positioning and final places for the
women's races were established on the first lap with Camilla Monck from
Great Britain blasting off at the start, never looking back, and finishing
far ahead of the remainder of the pack. Monck finished first place
overall, and won the gold medal in the women's senior race while Margaret
Koppejan (Netherlands) finished second overall and won the silver medal.
Jeanne Prince (U.S.A.) was the gold medal winner in the veteran's women
and finished third place overall.
|Although the temperature was cool, with light winds and bright skies,
the XI World Transplant Games cycling competition soon became very heated
-- figuratively and literally. The cycling venue was near the Panther
Cable Water Ski Park in Penrith near the foothills of the Blue Mountains,
and running parallel to the Tench Reserve Park and the Nepean River. Seventy-nine
cyclists, 63 men and 16 women, competed in the Saturday, October 4, 1997
event which featured a 20k flat course, attacking magpies and a few rough
Prince reported that while in practice sessions an aberrant magpie
actually attacked her, perching on her helmet as she rode down the road,
and attempting to peck through her helmet. Local triathlon club members
indicate they have the same problem with this particular bird. Reports
are that a magpie warden was stationed at the critical point to ward off
any attacks during the race.
A pack of four cyclists led throughout the men's super veterans race.
Vencenzo Rizzi (Italy) took the lead on the second lap and held on to edge
out Antonio Segundo De Las Heras (Spain) for the gold medal followed closely
by Allen Strickland (U.S.A.) who took the bronze. All three
medalists were heart transplant recipients.
De Las Heras felt "the course hard because it was very windy". He hopes
that the Games show society in general the message of solidarity and what
the benefits of organ donation and the gift of life can mean for thousands
of people. Antonio, 56 years of age, received his heart four years
The men's adult race was the most hotly contested of the day. After
the first lap, six riders comprised the front pack, led by Stefan Yencha
(U.S.A.). At the turn of the second lap Yencha remained in the lead
followed closely by Rebouillat (France), Companaro (Italy), and Verzeleti
(Italy) as well as Stewart (Australia). With 400 meters remaining,
the sprint began. In a finish determined by centimeters, Sergio Verzeleti
(Italy) surged ahead for the win. Yencha (U.S.A.) barely edged out
Giuseppe Campanaro (Italy) for the silver medal, with Cyril Rebouillat
finishing in the fourth place position.
|Gold medal winner Rizzi received his heart transplant seven years ago.
An avid cyclist as a youth, he had to stop riding due to heart disease.
Two years following transplant, he was back training on his bike, and has
since won five medals at the World Transplant Games. Vencenzo said
that although the unexpected medal was nice, the important aspect of the
games was the camaraderie. Rizzi is very happy to be in Australia and hopes
to come again with his wife so she can see "this wonderful country".
The men's senior race was dominated by three cyclists, Fiske, Aulestia
and Prenner. Separated by only a meter throughout the race, these
three worked their way up from the second starting group to finish in the
top 13 overall. The gold medal was won by Olav Fikse (Norway) who
outsprinted silver medalist Aitor Aulestia (Spain) and bronze medalist
Michael Prenner (Austria) in the final 100 meters.
The race for the gold in the men's veteran division involved a pack
of four riders who rode together for the entire 20k. The final 50
meter sprint to the finish line and gold medal was won by Marcel Portrat
of France. Michele Russo of Italy who had been in fourth place throughout
the race found a reservoir of strength to win the silver medal. Roger
Joosen of Belgium was awarded the bronze medal followed closely by Freddy
Hirsoux also of Belgium.
Even though rough spots on the road and head winds made for a challenging
course, the competitors were complimentary of the race, its administrators,
and the support staff. The cycling venue for the XI World Transplant
Games brought together individuals for a friendly yet highly competitive
race and all are looking forward to rematches at Tilburg.