The International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced a significant expansion of the 2010 Para-cycling calendar with the introduction of a road World Cup series for nest year.
The three-round Para-cycling World Cup series is scheduled to begin in Corrèze, France, May 21-23. The French round will be followed by events in Segovia, Spain (June 11-13) and Baie-Comeau in Canada, July 2-4.
"The UCI is confident that this first edition [of the World Cup series] will be very successful," said the UCI's Para-cycling Coordinator Chantale Philie.
The UCI said points gained by nations competing in the inaugural series will contribute to qualification criteria for the 2011 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships, which are for the first time to be held in conjunction with the UCI Road World Championships in Roskilde, Denmark.
The UCI also indicated that the World Cup series is likely to be expanded to include a fourth event in 2011.
"The series should include four events from 2011. The new race should be organised in Asia or Oceania, which will contribute to the universal development of the discipline."
Britain to build for 2012 London Paralympics in Manchester
In a strong sign of its commitment to the development Para-cycling, the UCI's announcement of the new road World Cup series comes just two days before the start of the 2009 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships at Manchester Velodrome on Friday.
Athletes from countries including Australia, the USA and the Czech Republic will join riders from the host nation, Great Britain, for the three-day Track World Championships, November 6-8.
For Britain, who took 17 gold medals at last year's Beijing Paralympic games, this year's Worlds are viewed stepping stone towards what they hope will be an even more successful Paralympic campaign in London in 2012.
"This year is all about trying out new things in our team, from new pairings to new training methodologies. From 2010 we will be implementing what we have learnt in 2009 to really hone in on our performance ahead of London," said Chris Furber, Head Coach for the GB Para-Cycling Team.
"We are also looking at classifications where we have had less success to see if we can fast- track athletes into medal winning positions ahead of 2012. For us London will be about gold or nothing."
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