More than 300 athletes from 36 countries competed on the first day of action in Maniago ©UCI

The United States amassed eight time-trial medals, including three golds, to top the standings on day one of the season-opening International Cycling Union (UCI) Para-cycling Road World Cup event in Maniago, Italy.

Jamie Whitmore and Shawn Morelli successfully defended their C3 and C4 titles respectively, while Brian Sheridan’s win in the H2 class made it a hat-trick of gold medals for last year’s top-ranked nation, who also secured one silver and four bronze.

Whitmore, who was beaten just once last year, covered 12.8 kilometres in 21min 17.41sec to finish 31.53 seconds ahead of second-placed German Denise Schindler, while Great Britain’s Megan Giglia took bronze with a time of 23:34.12.

Meanwhile, Morelli, who claimed three World Cup victories last year to move to the summit of the overall rankings, won with a time of 20:09.15.

Nearest challenger Marie-Claude Molnar of Canada was more than a minute behind, crossing the line in 21:24.96, and was followed by Italy’s Jenny Narcisi, who finished in 22:36.30 to complete the podium.

Israel’s Yaakov Kobi and Italy’s Luca Mazzone finished behind Sheridan in second and third respectively.

Hosts Italy and Germany also earned three golds each as both countries totalled seven medals in all.

Alessandro Zanardi of Italy had no problems seeing off his rivals in the H5 class, as the hand-cycling athlete completed the 26.4km race in 39:48.30. 

The former Formula one driver finished nearly two minutes quicker than Dutch silver medallist Tim De Vries, who crossed the line in 41:43.38, while the US’s Oscar Sanchez earned the bronze medal in 42:18.27.

Italy's Alessandro Zanardi took gold in the H5 class
Italy's Alessandro Zanardi took gold in the H5 class ©Getty Images

Zanardi's compatriot Vittorio Podesta faced a tougher test in the H3 class, finishing his 12.8km race only 2.41 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Heinz Frei, last year’s World Cup champion, with Canada’s Charles Moreau the bronze medallist.

In the T2, home favourite Carlo Calcagni registered a time of 21:12.82 to beat Germany’s Hans-Peter Durst, the 2014 World Cup champion, by more than 40 seconds, while the US’s Ryan Boyle came third in 22:45.39.

Germany’s trio of gold medals came via C1 time-trial world champion Michael Teuber, as well as women’s T2 and H5 racers Jana Majunke and Dorothee Vieth.

Teuber clocked a time of 19:18.77 to condemn fellow countryman Erich Winkler to second position with Italy's Giancarlo Masini in third. 

Majunke posted a winning time of 27:06.96 to fend off competition from Britain’s Hannah Dines and Canada’s Marie-Ève Croteau, who finished second and third respectively, while Vieth crossed the line in 22:51.93 ahead of The Netherlands’ Laura De Vann and the US bronze medallist Oksana Masters.

More than 300 athletes from 36 countries competed on the first day of action in Maniago.

Road races are due to take place tomorrow and Sunday (June 7).

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