London. 14 August 2023 – Four Special Olympics Great Britain athletes recently made history by taking part in a demonstration race at the first ever Glasgow 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.
Following on from the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Special Olympics and UCI at Brandenburg Gate at the Special Olympics World Games Berlin in June, Ruairidh Brown (Special Olympics Scotland), Niall Guite (Special Olympics Sheffield), Luke Mahoney (Special Olympics North Devon & Barnstaple) and Andrew Newey (Special Olympics Greater Manchester) competed in a road race on part of the course from the Glasgow 2023 elite races, which finished at the city’s iconic George Square.
“As a partner we understand the UCI’s commitment to inclusion and supporting an opportunity for Special Olympics cyclists to compete in a great race, in what is a historic first of its kind UCI World Championships. This event will create many opportunities going forward, including further inclusion of Special Olympics at major cycling events, stronger coaching pathways and developing relationships between Special Olympics national programs and national cycling federations.”
The Glasgow 2023 Demonstration race also follows on from an invitation for international Special Olympics athletes to compete at the 2022 UCI Masters Cyclo-Cross World Championships in Ipswich, England. Even more athletes will compete at this event in Hamburg, Germany, from 1 to 3 December 2023.
"It was a real honour to represent Special Olympics Great Britain again by racing at this first ever UCI Cycling World Championships. I was incredibly proud to be part of the group that raced and it’s a dream that it was in my home city of Glasgow. The support from the crowd took me back to my previous experiences of racing at two Special Olympics World Games."
Ruairidh added, “I’m really happy to have finished first, but to have also made some new friends in Andrew, Luke and Niall. I’m looking forward to seeing them later in the year at our next major Special Olympics Great Britain cycling event.”
Glasgow 2023 is the first time that the UCI has brought together all 13 cycling World Championships, with more than 8,000 athletes participating across 11 days of competition.
Jacques Landry, Director of UCI World Cycling Centre, said: “Through our events like the Glasgow 2023 World Championships, we can leverage greater support for Special Olympics, and it was fantastic to see these four athletes compete on this course where the many elite world cyclists are racing this week.
“Our partnership with Special Olympics aims to support coach education, mechanic education and we want to help support as many people as possible who are working with the movement.”
Following the success of its first event in the 2022 Special Olympics Great Britain Summer Series of Sport, Special Olympics Yorkshire & Humber is again hosting its National Cycling competition at Wyke Community Sports Village on 23 and 24 September 2023.
About the competing athletes
- Has been cycling since he was eight years old and currently rides with a local club in East Kilbride.
- Competed at the Special Olympics Great Britain National Games in 2013 and the European Games in Antwerp in 2014 where he won one gold and two bronze medals.
- Ruairidh was selected for Team Special Olympics Great Britain at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, winning two silver medals
- Won gold at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi
- Has been riding since from a very early age and has cycled in Europe with his parents.
- Discovered Special Olympics Great Britain just before lockdown and won silver in his first competition; 2022 Special Olympics Great Britain Summer Series of Sport
- Is a Cyclocross racer and has been competing since aged 11.
- Won the Special Olympics international race at the UCI World Masters Cyclocross and was rainbow jersey holder in juniors. Also won the Under 16s gold medallist in 2021.
- Is a two-sport Special Olympics World Games gold medallist, having won gold in basketball in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles and a gold and silver in cycling at the 2023 Special Olympics World Games in Berlin.
- Launched his ‘Art with a special goal’ social enterprise with Special Olympics Great Britain in 2020, selling his drawings of iconic sporting stadiums. Subsequently exhibited his art at the Royal Academy of Arts thanks to the support of Grayson Perry
- Became the first Special Olympics Great Britain athlete to deliver a TEDx Talk in November 2022.