Carol-Eduard Novak - Champion of Romanian Cycling
Romanian Carol-Eduard Novak will be the only athlete representing his country at the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, (March 22-25). The four-time Paralympian (including gold in the C4 individual pursuit at London 2012) fits his training and racing around his "day" job as President of the Romanian Cycling Federation. Last year, he was re-elected to the head of the Federation for a further four-year term.
“It is a great honor and responsibility for me to lead the future of Romanian cycling for another four years," he said after his re-election. "We have clear performance objectives for Tokyo 2020, but in parallel we must develop all branches of the sport and the federation will assume the development of specialized courses for coaches, mechanics and team managers. »
While championing the cause of his country’s cyclists, the Federation head can draw on his experience as a high-level athlete: the 41-year-old para-cyclist, who competes in the men's C4 category, is accomplished on both the track and the road, with Paralympic medals in both disciplines.
Novak started his sporting career as a speed-skater, winning national titles and setting national records as a Junior. In 1996, as a result of injuries suffered in a car accident, he lost his right foot, putting an end to his career on the ice.
He did not give up sport, but switched to cycling, fitting training around his law studies. His first major win was at the 2003 European Para-cycling Championships. The following year, he was named on the Romanian team for the Athens 2004 Paralympics, where he finished just shy of the podium, with two fourth places. Four years later at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, Novak, his country's flag-bearer, broke through to the podium to win the silver medal in the C2 road time trial. It was a historic first Paralympic medal for Romania.
At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Novak was once again the flag-bearer for Romania, and did not disappoint, winning Romania's first ever Paralympic Games gold medal in the C4 individual pursuit on the track, setting a world record of 4:40.315 for 4000 metres. He also repeated as silver medalist in the road time trial. That same year, he competed directly against able-bodied riders in the Romanian Road National Championships, finishing third in the road race. A year later he was second in the National Championships time trial.
In 2015, Novak was silver medallist in the road race at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships, and the following year competed in his fourth Paralympic Games, Rio 2016, where he finished 5th in the individual pursuit, 6th in the road time trial and 9th in the road race.
Carol-Eduard Novak’s passion for the sport extends far beyond the excitement of personal achievement. As well as serving as President of the Romanian Cycling Federation, he is the founder of one of Romania's top teams - Tusnad DRAG Cycling Team - and a co-founder of the Tour of Szeklerland, a UCI 2.2 stage race, now in its 11th year.
Last year, he opened the Novak Cycling Academy, the first cycling academy in Eastern Europe.
On his website, Novak says: "The mission of our academy is to develop talented athletes, children that want to do performance cycling and besides the fact that they will benefit from very well thought training sessions they will also have the advantage of counseling in various domains, such as nutrition, psychology or physiotherapy. The main idea is that these kids should receive all the necessary information in order for them to become very well prepared contestants, capable of competing in 2017 and the following years at world championships [and] Olympic Games."