Sophomore national team member Alexandre Hayward fifth at UCI World Championships

Canadian Paralympic Committee

August 12, 2023

New Brunswick Para cyclist impresses after long bout with mono

Mel Pemble

(photo: Richard Blaxall)

DUMFRIES, Scotland – Alexandre Hayward didn’t expect to be in Scotland after a month-long battle with mononucleosis but he emerged with a satisfying fifth in the men’s C3 Para cycling road race on Saturday in rainy conditions at the UCI Cycling World championships.

Finlay Graham of Great Britain won the gold in a dramatic three-man sprint for the title clocking the 62.4 kilometre ride in one hour, 32 minutes and 59 seconds. Thomas Peyroton Dartet of France  followed two seconds back and Ben Watson of Great Britain was third 15 seconds behind.

Hayward, in his second season on the national team, produced a strong second half to finish within 47 seconds of the victor. He was 11th after the first of four laps and 12th after the second before reeling in several opponents.

From Quispamsis, N.B.,  Hayward said it was his first race in a rain storm.

‘’It was wet and it was fast,’’ said Hayward, 26, injured in a AAA hockey game 11 years ago which left him a tetraplegic. ‘’A couple of guys went out early and the wet corners made it a little bit harder to reel them back in. I started to make my move on the last lap and just went for it.’’

After a World Cup in Huntsville, Alabama in late May, Hayward was diagnosed with mononucleosis that lasted 32 days. He only learned he was fit enough to compete a week before the worlds.

‘’To be here is fantastic’’ said Hayward, sixth in the time trial on Thursday. ‘’The road race is all about experience. There’s no quick way through it unless you’re a lot stronger than everyone else and I keep learning as I go.’’

Mike Sametz of Calgary, a bronze medallist in the time trial, took seventh spot 1:45 behind Graham. Sametz, a double world champion and Paralympic medallist, completes a successful return to the national team this season after a four-year absence.

In the women’s C3 road race, also over 62.4 kilometres, Mel Pemble of Victoria stayed with the lead pack for three quarters of the race and wound up sixth. Pemble won three medals – gold, silver and bronze on the track last week.

Keely Shaw of Midale, Sask., third in the time trial on Thursday and second in the indvidual pursuit on the track last Monday, took ninth spot in the women’s C4 78 kilometre road race.

In the C categories, athletes have a physical impairment but still compete using a “standard bicycle”. There are five categories with the lower number indicating greater impairment.

Other Canadian Para road race results Saturday: Cara Shibley and her pilot Meghan Brown of Calgary were 10th in the women’s B (blind) tandem, Lowell Taylor of Lethbridge, Alta. and his pilot Ed Veal of Hamilton 11th in the men’s B tandem and Tarek Dahab of Beloeil, Que. was 16th in the men’s C2.

Canada has six medals in the Para road racing so far (one gold and five bronze) in addition to five medals (1-3-1) on the track at the beginning of the week.

Competition ends Sunday in downtown Glasgow with the 15 kilometre handbike relay. Scheduled to ride for Canada are Joey Desjardins of Hawkesbury, Ont., Matthew Kinnie of Riverview, N.B., and Alex Hyndman of Morpeth, Ont.

Full results:


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