Invacare signs lead sponsorship agreement with European Handcycling Federation (EHF)
Invacare is delighted to announce the signing of an agreement to become the new lead sponsor of the European Handcycling Federation (EHF), which holds the European Handbike Circuit (EHC), the world’s largest handcycle competition series. Invacare already sponsors a number of different sports, such as powerchair football, and is pleased to again show its commitment to supporting sports that give individuals with disabilities the opportunity to excel.
Come and join us for the opening race of the 2013 European Handbike Circuit in Rosenau, France, on Saturday the 30th of March, where Team Invacare athletes will compete!
Invacare® Top End® Director Chris Peterson, a competitive handcyclist in the knee-sit division, will also compete at Rosenau at the end of March. Chris is one of the original founders of Top End® and is the principle designer of Invacare® Top End® sports products. He gets his insights and inspiration from listening to athletes and discovering ways to make Top End® products faster, better, and stronger. Following the announcement of the partnership with EHF, Chris commented: “Creating this partnership with EHF is evidence of our commitment to handcycling as a serious sport. We promote handcycling to encourage an active lifestyle and we are privileged to partner with the EHF.”
EHF President Roberto Rancillo stated: “We have been working for several years to grow the handcycle awareness and I think the achievements today are evidence of the great efforts made by all the Board members. We are delighted to have Invacare® Top End® associated with our sport. They lead the way as one of the innovators of equipment and technology in this field, and having Invacare’s ambition and expertise behind our sport will reap benefits for everyone. I’m sure the partnership between EHF and Invacare will enable us to improve what has been done so far.”
Handcycling is a fast growing sport
Handbikes are special 3-wheeled cycles, which are powered solely by the arms, using upper body strength. Athletes can kneel, sit or recline on the handbike, depending on the position that best suits them. High-tech materials such as aluminium, titanium and carbon fibre are often used in the design and construction of handbikes, and Invacare® Top End® constantly seeks to improve the use of lightweight materials to develop winning new technologies.
Athletes are divided into categories depending on their disability level. Interestingly, though, able-bodied athletes are also encouraged to compete. Handcycling is increasingly becoming a popular sport, and although the categories separate disabled participants from fully abled athletes, there is unity and a shared sense of competition between the categories of competitors.
The European Handbike Circuit (EHC)
The EHC is the world’s largest handcycle competition series, held annually throughout Europe and the Middle East. Every year, over 1000 athletes from 30 countries compete, with approximately 90 athletes participating in each race, which attract huge crowds of spectators. The EHC is structured by virtue of a ranking system, which takes into account an athlete’s ranking as an individual as well as a team member. In 2009, 2010 and 2011 the EHC Series’ races validated the athletes' qualifications for the UCI World Championships and Paralympic Games.
EHC races fall into two categories: Road Races and Time Trials. Road Race riders start together and the first to cross the finishing line is the winner. The Time Trials differ in that the riders set off at intervals, and the winner is the rider with the fastest time over the course.
Upcoming EHC events include the 2013 opening race in Rosenau, near Mulhouse (France) on March 30th, followed by the Louny race, which will be held near Prague (Czech Republic) on June 29th. The Fossano race near Cuneo (Italy) takes place on July 20th and 21st, and a final race will be announced in the first days of April.
Heinz Frei, Team Invacare athlete, will compete in the EHC in Rosenau this Saturday. Among his many awards, Heinz has won 15 gold medals at the Paralympics.
The European Handcycling Federation (EHF) was formed as an international association by a group of enthusiastic handbikers in 2001. Initial headquarters were located in Belgium and have since moved to Italy. The founder countries, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland have been progressively joined by new countries like the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy.
The EHF’s aim is to develop handcycling sport in European and non-European countries, promote and support integration of disabled and able-bodied athletes, eliminate barriers through sport and give these athletes the chance to compete together with the same goal.
For more information on the EHF, visit: www.ehf-ehc.eu