GB win 10 medals at the Para-Cycling Road Worlds

GB Para-Cycling Team has won 10 medals at the Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Denmark (8-11 September) – two golds, two silvers and six bronzes.

Sarah Storey defended her world titles in the C5 Time Trial and Road Race in style. She rode a brilliant Time Trial and caught up with other riders quickly to take a lead of 1.37 ahead of Poland’s Anna Harkowska. She said: “I was a bit nervous about it, I was going for my third TT world title in a row. I won the event in Beijing and it’s great to go into a Paralympic year with a world champion jersey plus you get to keep it for two years and that’s always a bonus. I think a year before London it’s important to put a strong marker down and give yourself that psychological advantage.”

Storey also rode a good, tactical Road Race, leading more or less from the start with Poland’s Anna Harkowska tucked in closely behind. It was a dramatic sprint finish with Sarah winning by less than a second. GB’s Crystal Lane came third in the same race just 52 seconds later, making a great debut for Britain at the Championships. Storey said “I thought the race worked out really well and I was really chuffed when I saw Crystal coming up the home straight. It bodes really well for next year and the future.”

There were some great performances from up and coming riders including that of Mark Colbourne, who clenched silver in the C1 Time Trial, hand-cyclist Karen Darke, who picked up two bronze medals in a strong field in the H2 Road Race and Time Trial, and Simon Price, who won bronze in a tough C2 Road Race.

It was a tough competition for Rachel Morris (H3) and David Stone (T2) who lost their 2010 world titles in both the Road Race and Time Trial. Morris, who rides a handbike, dislocated her shoulder in training just three weeks before Denmark but pushed through the pain to pick up a bronze in the H3 Road Race. Stone also crashed in the same week and lost valuable preparation time through severe back pain but went on to pick up a silver medal in the Time Trial.

Gareth Sheppard, Paralympic Performance Manager, said: “Denmark has been a mixed bag for the team. Sarah Storey produced a world class performance and our development riders like Mark Colbourne, Crystal Lane, Karen Darke and Simon Price really delivered, putting us in the mix for podium in London in events where we haven’t been competitive before.

“But we’ve also had some bad luck in the run-up to Denmark with serious injuries to key athletes like Rachel Morris and David Stone which hampered their preparation and performance.

“Competition on the road has definitely moved on since last year. Now we know the depth and strength of the international field that will be in London next year, we will focus on closing individual performance gaps in key road events over the next 12 months.

“What’s very encouraging is that we’ve never won more medals at Road World Championships and for the first time we are podium competitive in a number of new classes which puts us in a strong position for London.”

The Para-Cycling Road World Championships were the last major road competition before the London 2012 Paralympics. The British team will now focus on preparations for the Para-Cycling Track World Championships in February, the last track qualification event before the Games next year.

GB Medal Tally:

Women’s C5 Time Trial – Sarah Storey
Women’s C5 Road Race – Sarah Storey

Men’s C1 Time Trial – Mark Colbourne
Men’s T2 Time Trial – David Stone

Men’s C3 Time Trial – Shaun McKeown
Women’s H2 Time Trial – Karen Darke
Women’s H2 Road Race – Karen Darke
Women’s H3 Road Race – Rachel Morris
Women’s C5 Road Race – Crystal Lane
Men’s C2 Road Race – Simon Price