Shawn Morelli Wins World Championships, Breaks Para-Cycling World Record in the C4 Pursuit
Shawn Morelli smashed the women’s C4 pursuit World Record at the Para-CyclingTrack World Championships in Italy this past weekend, taking the Gold medal for Team USA and the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.
Morelli won in a time of 3:55.006, besting the previous record of 3:56.135 that had been set by Susan Powell of Australia in 2015. Powell rode to second in the final. The gold medal is the first for Morelli on the track, coming on the back of two Road World Championship Golds last year. Morelli was delighted with her win, “I never thought I would break the world record! It’s a big surprise, I rode faster than expected. I’m just happy that I could hold on until the end.”
For Morelli, the day of racing was fraught with stress, having to ride twice in one day. After beginning her qualifying run in the morning, Morelli came through the first two laps well off the pace needed to qualify. Picking up the pace dramatically in the final stages, Morelli ended qualification in pole position, surpassing her and her coaches expectations.
After a five-hour break, Morelli was pitted against Susan Powell in the final. The World Record Holder and reigning World Champion from Australia started out strongly, but soon Morelli pulled ahead, focusing on her own racing. With a margin of four seconds over Powell, the race became solely about the World Record, with Morelli pushing across the line to shave over a second from the previous best.
Being her first win on the track, Morelli revelled in the atmosphere, “The feeling was overwhelming when I finished. So much emotion running through me from joy to pain and wanting to get off my bike. I am still taking it all in and thankful I was given the strong mind and body to perform the way I did yesterday.”
The win puts Morelli in good stead heading into the Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil that will begin in just six months time. Morelli continued, “It does not happen often that all things come together so perfectly and you can have the ride of your life. I owe the win to Team USA staff, coaches, mechanics and teammates for beating on the rail. I could not have done it without the entire crew.”